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.