As a therapist who has treated obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for several years, I "GET" OCD. Although I don't have OCD, I really understand what people go through who have it. For people in sufferer's lives, it is often difficult, if not impossible to understand. Parents, spouses, and friends wonder -- "Why can't they just NOT wash their hands?" or "Why do they have to say that prayer over and over till it feels just right?" or "Why can't they just stop thinking about the things that bug them?"
Terry Gross had a great interview on NPR today with David Adam, a science writer with OCD. I was amazed at how articulate he was about describing his obsessions and compulsions. I appreciated that Mr. Adam's OCD was not the typical washing and checking -- rather, he has a severe, irrational fear of contracting HIV. In clinical practice, we certainly see people who "wash" and "check," but even more often, we see people whose OCD revolves around more esoteric themes.
This program is a must-listen for anyone trying to relate to what their family members with OCD are going through. And, it will be great comfort to people with OCD to hear that someone struggles with the same thoughts and behaviors as they do (even if the exact content of the thoughts and behaviors differ).
Check out the interview here.
I have not yet read Mr. Adam's book. I will post again when I do...but I sense it will be a valuable read for people with OCD and those who love them!
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I am a licensed psychologist working with kids, teens, and adults with anxiety disorders.