How About Preventive Therapy for OCD?

The postpartum period is sometimes accompanied by anxiety, depression, and even obsessive-compulsive disorder.  A recent study on postpartum OCD prevention shows promising results.  What a great idea! Stop OCD before it has a chance to latch on to people and wreak havoc on their lives.

But why limit this preventive therapy to women who have just given birth? We know that OCD sometimes runs in families. We know that there are often subtle signs of OCD before it becomes full-blown. We know that OCD is an anxiety disorder and is often seen with co-existing conditions such as depression, social phobia, and Tourette syndrome, to name a few. Given all we know, shouldn’t we be able to identify an at-risk population for OCD?

And once this group is identified, let’s start right in on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Early detection (and pre-detection as the study above suggests) coupled with CBT significantly reduces the severity of symptoms in those with OCD. While we’re at it, why not offer CBT classes in schools? The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that over twenty-five percent of teenagers will suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. And that’s just teenagers. Anxiety disorders in younger children are also on the rise. And how about at the office?  Cognitive Behavior Therapy can benefit everybody, not just those suffering from OCD or other anxiety disorders. What do we have to lose?

It all goes back to OCD Awareness. So many people hide their symptoms because they are confused and embarrassed by them, and therefore the opportunity to nip OCD in the bud is lost.  But if we were all more open about all anxiety disorders, and more aware of what they entail and how they can be managed, nobody would feel the need to suffer in silence.

I know, I know. I’m being a bit of a Pollyanna here. I can’t help it. The thought of widespread preventive programs for OCD is just too exciting not to think about. And who knows? Maybe someday they will even be a reality.

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2 Responses to How About Preventive Therapy for OCD?

  1. Karin says:

    Hi! i had 2 children and after both i had OCD very badly. I didn’t know what it was with my firstborn. I just had constant, recurring thots that i was going to molest him. These would often start as i was changing his diaper. I would put his diaper cream on the diaper instead of on him! Then after the immediate rush of guilt/ shame for the thot, it would settle in the back of my mind, making me feel ‘yucky’ all day, every day, until another crisis hit, that would take this thot out of my mind. After a few weeks the bad feeling would go away and i’d have peace in my head for a little while- until the next one hit. I could conscously tell myself that my son was NOT molested, but it didn’t sink deep, esp. if the thots came every diaper change, or even at other times. I never let him race cars on my body or do anything else where he could ‘accidently’ touch something he ‘shouldn’t’. I did nurse him for a year and a half and that was ok.

    I just thot these were extra church guilt and as he grew up i had them less and less. When i finally confessed them to a counselor (he was maybe 5 then) she said it was just stress. So then i started ignoring them and they went away. I also finally started telling myself IF i did this, and he needed therapy, i would pay for it, so not to worry. This thot helped me too, but this idea only came to me after years of agony.

    Fast forward 14 yrs. I became pregnant with my daughter. I had wanted more kids in the interviening years but i also had a fear of if ‘THAT THING’ would happen again. So i accepted it pretty well that i only had one child.

    After i had my dd, i started asking myself odd questions: can she sleep in the crib in her clothes, or should i put pj’s on for daily naps? I didn’t want to get the crib ‘dirty’. My rationalle: Otherwise why do people put pj’s on to go to bed. Then i started wondering if it was ok to touch the swing in the park across the street, so i could sit in it and rock her to sleep. I kept telling myself i was just worried because i hadn’t had a kid in a decade, so was just being ‘new-momish’. Well the fears and thots about germs kept coming so i finally called up my counsellor from years ago and also my doctor and he told me it was ocd.

    I knew i had some ocd tendancies before: i checked a lot when i was driving to see if i hit someone, esp. if i went over a bump. But it was only after my dd was born that i checked the internet for ocd symptoms and found i had them now, and at certain other times in my life- usually pure O and then scrupulosity. I just thot i was very sensitive and very guilt-prone due to the very religious lifestyle i was leading at the time.

    But these episodes came and went, mostly because after a few years i finally found a ‘thot’ or idea that battled the original thot and then i was able to ignore the original thot, idea. It would then slowly go away. I always wondered tho why i couldn’t have these thots about things i could actuall y check: like i didn’t have thots as i left a store that i stole something, i could feel guilty about that, and then check and see that i was wrong.

    when i found that there were many types of ocd, not just checking and germs, then my life made a lot more sense. Now i have the ‘germ’ thing and am still trying to get rid of it. It’s been 4 yrs now. But i have come a long way. I took cipralex for a few yrs but that only helped a certain amount. Then i was put on clomipramine and wow, what a difference. But i am slowly weaning myself off it, as i want to be less tired.

    although i do think that just the energy it takes to think thru ocd issues and make a decision to ignore it or to clean it leaves me drained.

    Needless to say, there will be no third child, 🙂

  2. ocdtalk says:

    Thanks so much for sharing!

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