Archives for OCD

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Normal Behavior or Mental Illness?

Several new diagnoses will appear in the soon to-be-released Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-V).  In fact, quite a bit of controversy surrounds the inclusion of several of these new “disorders” in what is considered to be the mental health world’s diagnostic “bible,” as many question their validity and appropriateness for inclusion.

Among the new DSM-V disorders is Excoriation (Skin Picking) Disorder, classified within the Obsessive Compulsive and...
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Anxiety

The Key to Why YOU Get Anxious

We know that when we get anxious, the fight-or-flight response is triggered and our bodies experience many physiological changes and symptoms that we find stressful and unpleasant. But, do you know what causes us to get anxious? It may not be what you think.

No, it’s not that upcoming presentation at work or that plane flight next week.  It's not something external.

I’m a psychologist, so I’m going to try to help you discover the...
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Anxiety

The Neglected Side of Hoarding

Compulsive hoarding has attracted a great deal of media attention. These media portrayals, whether they are television, newspaper, or other illustrations of the problem, tend to be somewhat unidimensional.  Yes, these individuals’ homes are frequently difficult to navigate, and, yes, these individuals appear to be excessively attached to items that many of us view as of very little or no value. However, these snapshots into the lives of these individuals sometimes lack the depth...
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Anxiety

A Parent’s Guide to Child & Adolescent Anxiety


One of the most difficult parenting moments we may experience is seeing our child in distress and feeling powerless in our ability to help him or her feel better. There will be a time in the life of every parent in which his or her child is struggling and the path to understanding and overcoming this struggle is unclear.

In order to help a child overcome distress, it is first important to identify the problem....
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Anxiety

Help for Hoarding

The compulsion to hoard belongings has been likened to addiction; yet there are some important differences between the two. In a previous post,  some of those differences were discussed.  Most importantly, however, are the differences in treatment approach. I am frequently asked by loved ones, "Can't I just go in and clean the house?" It can be difficult to understand why this is not in the best interest of the individual...
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Anxiety

Hoarding: Compulsion or Addiction?

The topic of compulsive hoarding has garnered much attention in recent years in the mainstream media.  Compulsive hoarding has been likened to addiction in some discussions of the problem, yet they are very different constructs.  Let’s take a look at the what we know about the similarities and differences in order to answer the burning question of why can’t someone clean a hoarder’s home for him/her. For brevity’s sake, let’s...
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Anxiety

Buried in Stuff: Understanding Compulsive Hoarding

WHAT IS COMPULSIVE HOARDING?

Compulsive hoarding is a disorder that involves the accumulation of belongings to such an extent that the resulting clutter renders parts of the living space unusable.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS/SYMPTOMS OF COMPULSIVE HOARDING?

The acquisition and failure to discard a large number of items/possession that are considered by most to be of little or no value
These possessions clutter the living space, rendering the space unable to be used in...
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Emotional Health

When Infection Triggers OCD


In 1998, Dr. Susan Swedo, a researcher at NIMH, first described in the scientific literature a subtype of OCD in which children demonstrated an abrupt onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms (OCD, tics, ADHD-like symptoms, anxiety) with a “saw-toothed” course, preceded by streptococcal infection.  This syndrome was termed PANDAS, Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.  In PANDAS, the body’s immune system is over-reactive to strep bacteria, leading to psychiatric and neurological symptoms.  Dr. Swedo...
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