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Social Anxiety: The Pervasive Creature in your Mind

1.19.16

View original article published in Psych Central here. When Tina took her first job out of college, she thought she could circumvent most of the social events it required. They were not part of her main responsibilities. But three months into it, her company experienced major restructuring, and she was assigned new responsibilities that involved more interaction with people. Her worries increased. She knew that her social anxiety could get in the way of her career. Ever since she was a child, Tina had developed extreme fear that others would judge her words and actions whenever she was in social situations. She had two close childhood friends. One had gotten married, and the other had moved away. She felt lonely and had not been able to de

Talking To Your Child About OCD

10.15.15

Sometimes parents hesitate telling their children that they have OCD. Their reasons may vary, but the most common reasons are the following: They worry about the stigma that surrounds OCD, and the possible negative effects on their child. They don’t want their child to be labeled, treated, or looked at differently. They wish to avoid hurt feelings for their child. They worry their child may feel broken or that something is wrong with them. They don’t want their child’s confidence to suffer. On the other hand, consider why talking about it may be a better option: When children don’t understand what is happening to them, they figure out their own solution. The danger is that their solution may not be correct. When you talk about OCD for w

When Your Loved One Has Body Dysmorphic Disorder

4.7.15

[View original article published in Psych Central here. Aaron was a senior in high school, and his grades had begun to decline. He wasn’t interested in hanging out with his friends. He seemed depressed. He’d spend an extraordinary amount of time in the bathroom fixing his hair. Aaron’s father had a difficult time understanding his son’s behavior. He would get irritated when he saw all the hair products in Aaron’s bathroom. Aaron was determined to find the perfect product for his hair. He still had not found it. We all have bad hair days. We also are aware of our physical flaws, but most of us are able to accept them without obsessing or becoming paralyzed by them. If you know someone who has become depressed and is excessively preoccupied

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

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

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

Five Telltale Signs Your Child is a Budding Perfectionist

3.28.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] I once met a young man who had had many successes in his youth. He was intelligent and outgoing. He had always been the star in high school and had enjoyed the praise he received from others, but something was amiss. As we talked, I discovered that his perfectionism was getting in the way. He was feeling depressed and exhausted. He couldn’t keep up with the demands he had set for himself. He said, “My teachers think I’m gifted. They have no idea how much time I spend on each of my assignments. Now, I have to keep up with those expectations. I don’t think I can do this anymore!” Sometimes parents are unable to recognize the signs and later lament themselves. They wish they had noticed t

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