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ANXIETY

Scrupulosity: When OCD Targets Your Religious and Moral Values

1.14.15

View original article published in Psych Central here. Whenever Marian was exposed to religious issues, she felt overwhelmed by doubt, guilt and anxiety. She had been steadfast in her devotion since childhood. Lately, though, she’d try to avoid anything or anyone that triggered her spiritual obsessions. Her loved ones were puzzled because her commitment had been extraordinary. Conflicting worries consumed her mind and she was becoming depressed. Marian’s example of scrupulosity is one of many variations a sufferer may have with this type of OCD. Sometimes individuals with scrupulosity aren’t religious but feel hyper-responsible to their moral standards. The fact is that once in a while, religious individuals may experience doubts, guilt, re

3 Steps To Take When Life Gets Foggy

10.20.14

 [View original article published in Answers.com here] What is your first thought when you wake up in the morning? “I’m ready to take on the day!” But maybe you had a restless night and couldn’t stop thinking about current problems. Perhaps you wish your day never began. All of us experience difficulties at one point or another, and it has been said that what really matters is how we react to adversity. The advice is that we need to confront our difficult experiences with a positive attitude. When we do, things go smoother. But it is easier said than done! Take Lori for example. She was the oldest child of four, and when she was twelve years old, her mom passed away. She missed her mother, and she and her siblin

Helping Kids Overcome Their OCD Fears – Some DOs and DON’Ts

10.13.14

Any parent who witnesses their children’s excruciating fear will instinctively react to protect, help, and comfort them.  That is the expected and the right thing to do.  However, when children experience fear due to OCD and anxiety, parents can learn the right skills. They can intervene in a positive way to help their children overcome their challenges and avoid overprotecting them. Grug Crood from the film The Croods comes to mind.  Grug was an overprotective father and his favorite words were: “Never not be afraid!”  His number one goal was to keep his family free from danger.  Of course that advice proved to be ineffective.  His belief was that other families had been destroyed because they had not been afraid enough!  It turned out tha

What’s the Best Treatment for Hair-Pulling Disorder?

9.14.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] After school, Henry would sit down and watch TV, but one hour later, his mom would discover he had been pulling his eyelashes and eyebrows. It wasn’t that he didn’t want them, he just couldn’t stop plucking them. When his friends called him to hang out, he found excuses not to be around them. He didn’t want to face unwanted questions or comments. The embarrassment and shame were causing isolation, and his confidence and self esteem were suffering. Henry is challenged by trichotillomania (TTM). Individuals who experience this disorder have difficulties resisting the urge to pull out their hair. It is estimated to affect between two to four percent of the American population. Many hair

Helping Kids Succeed in School Despite OCD

8.21.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Roger’s parents were nervous about the new school year. They remembered how Roger’s OCD had surfaced. His fear of possibly choking on lunch food had kept him away for weeks. This problem subsided, but Roger’s OCD had morphed into contamination fears. His parents were on edge and wanted to be ready. Parents whose children struggle with OCD wish for them to succeed academically, but when OCD gets in the way, they feel lost and helpless. They may not be sure if the school needs to be aware of the issue. Parents may fear that telling the teacher will single their child out and exacerbate the situation. Deciding when to talk to school staff. There are various types of OCD and severity will

Trichotillomania and Excoriation Disorder

7.13.14

A friend forwarded me the link to Rebecca  Brown’s videos and journal (Trich Journal).  She is a charming young woman who is very artistic and funny and also suffers from hair pulling and skin picking disorders.  I’ve watched some of her videos since I received her information.  Rebecca is doing an awesome job in helping others understand that they don’t have to feel ashamed of their disorders.  She is helping educate people, but most importantly, with her example, she is helping those that suffer. If you have questions about Trichotillomania and Skin Picking Disorders, please go to the Trichotillomania Learning Center website.  I attended their last conference in April and it was very informative.  Some of the material presented reg

What Can Parents Do When OCD Sneaks In?

7.8.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Megan felt miserable. She and her family had relocated in the middle of the school year to another city. She was missing her friends and changes were difficult for her. It seemed the problems began one morning when she was getting ready for school. While washing her hair, she thought she had swallowed some of the shampoo. She wondered if it was toxic. She worried she’d get sick and die. She rinsed her mouth incessantly until she felt safe. “Is it poisonous?” she would ask her mom, every day before taking a shower. Her mom would reassure her that it was harmless. But Megan wasn’t satisfied with the answer. She couldn’t take a chance and took safety measures each time. Soon, her worries

Tim Howard, Soccer, and Tourette Syndrome

7.4.14

Tim Howard has been the talk of the town in the past few days.  His amazing talent defending the US goal against Belgium has earned him that honor.  Even though, the US lost, it was an exhilarating game and Howard showed his athletic abilities.  Even if you are not a soccer fan, you can be inspired by his story. He is a great goal keeper and also has not let Tourette Syndrome get in the way of his passion, goals, and vision in life. What is Tourette Syndrome? This is a neurobehavioral disorder that involves repetitive, stereotypical, and involuntary motor and vocal tics.  The tics may occur many times a day every day or intermittently throughout a period of more than a year.  The onset is before age 18.  It is a disorder with symptoms that

When OCD Targets Your Relationship

5.6.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Chuck said he wasn’t sure if he really loved his fiancée. Yes, there were times, when he was certain he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. But lately, the doubts were constant and he thought he should break the engagement. The wedding was two weeks away. He had experienced obsessive-compulsive disorder challenges since he was a teenager. He had mistakenly learned to deal with the symptoms by rationalizing and neutralizing his thoughts, thus he didn’t think his doubts about his fiancée had anything to do with OCD. Experiencing the jitters and cold feet can be a normal reaction to this significant milestone. So, was it a big deal? On the phone he informed me his family had in

Six Ways to Help Your Perfectionist Child Find Balance

4.1.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Four-year-old Max would crumple his paper when his drawing wasn’t perfect. He would start over, and often grow angry and eventually give up. His parents noticed his rigidity, but hoped he would grow out of it. When he was seven, the demands on himself and others were still troubling him and his family. His parents were frustrated. Are your children inflexible? Do they set high standards that overwhelm them? Do they complain of not having friends and feeling isolated? Do they procrastinate often? Do they go from one extreme to the other with certain behaviors, such as being studious and responsible academically to not caring at all? Do they beat themselves up and feel like a failure whe

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