Spreading the Word About OCD

by ambro freedigitalphotos.net

by ambro

Well, I watched ABC News “20/20” on Friday night, and hope some of you got to see it as well. My main reason for blogging has always been to spread the word that OCD, no matter how severe, is treatable, and to let others know that exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy is the frontline treatment for the disorder. “The Children Who Break Away” episode did these two things wonderfully (and reached a far wider audience than I ever could) and so I was thrilled with the program.

The young people profiled were so brave to share their struggles, and I have a feeling I wasn’t the only one crying at the end, when we find out that they are all currently doing very well. They still have OCD, but they have the tools to fight it. They are all forging ahead and living full, rich lives.

Typically, one of the more difficult aspects in dealing with OCD is getting the right diagnosis, and the right treatment. For many, it takes years. By the time we meet the young people in “The Children Who Break Away,” they are all receiving the proper treatment. My hope is that many OCD sufferers (or their parents, other family members, or friends) saw this show and either realized, “Hey, I’m on the right track,” or “I’m not getting the right therapy for my OCD.” Either way, the message is clear: There is HOPE. OCD is treatable.

The show touched upon some promising research involving glutamate, and I would have liked to have learned more about that. Perhaps they will do a follow-up program on cutting edge research on OCD. In the meantime, I’ll try to do some of my own research on these studies, and report back to you.

For those of you who did not get to see the program, you can check out this link:


On the site, it says the entire program is available online one week after it airs. So I’d suggest checking it out some time after May 30th.

If you watched the show, or if you end up seeing it online, I’d love to hear your opinion of it!

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14 Responses to Spreading the Word About OCD

  1. Time2cher says:

    I watched the show also and was hoping for more information on the glutamate as well. I am so happy for the girls that have made it through the ERP therapy to get their lives back and manage their OCD. I would have liked to have seen more about Rocco as he as well as my daughter suffer with the “thought OCD” which I truly believe is harder to overcome because it is not a physical therapy. I am not undermining anyone’s OCD at all, I just know it seems so tormenting to deal with the thoughts. If anyone has ideas or ways that they worked through their thought OCD I would love to hear. Thank you

    • Thanks for commenting, Time2cher. My son also suffered from intrusive thoughts, specifically harming obsessions, and ERP therapy literally saved his life. The key, in my opinion, is to connect with a healthcare provider who is properly trained in ERP therapy and has had success dealing with this type of OCD. While the premise of ERP is simple (face your fears and they will lose their power), therapy can get complicated. But done correctly, it works. Wishing you all the best.

  2. Warren says:

    From Warren Barlowe, OCD Therapist:
    This is an excellent documentary. It demonstrates very clearly how the evidence-based therapy for OCD (Exposure-and-Response-Prevention Behavioral Therapy) is used in successful recovery. I have viewed many videos of various attempts at OCD therapy, and none show it as well as this 20/20 segment. I hope a lot of sufferers get hope from watching it.
    I have OCD too, and it made my 12 years of elementary and secondary school torture.
    Now I myself help others with OCD.
    The next step is to find someone with experience in doing the therapy that works. OCD responds quickly to a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy known as Exposure-and-Response-Prevention (ERP). And this INCLUDES ‘thoughts only’, which I have had success treating, and I prefer to call it “obsessions without visible compulsions” because it DOES have compulsions, but they are compulsive thoughts, not actions. Find a caring therapist who
    specializes in ERP for OCD. The path to recovery is simple and logical: By voluntarily experiencing small samples of the ideas you get ‘stuck’ on, and then resisting the compulsion to either DO something (ask, check, wash, etc.), or THINK something (worry, review events, pray excessively, etc.) repeatedly, you learn to tolerate, and eventually ignore, the distressing obsessive thought. Your therapist works with you to help discover which obsessions are the least frightening, and you begin to practice successfully with the easiest ones, and gradually progress through your list to the most difficult ones. In my practice, I have seen that recovery for a child can come in as little as a few months, and very young children can recover in just a few weeks! (Adults take a little longer to recover, from 4-10 months, depending on how long they’ve lived with OCD. The same therapy is used with all ages.)
    Knowledge is priceless. Education is the answer. You can call me and talk about this for free at (631) 486-4818. Read more about OCD at ocd dot hereweb dot com

  3. Tea and OCD says:

    It was an excellent platform to open up further discussion and awareness about OCD. Witnessing how far the kids were able to come was a wonderful full circle experience and did give hope that treatment does and can work.
    I wished they had even a brief segment on they varying degrees and types of OCD since not everyone gets to the extent that the kids were especially adults who experienced OCD as a child and then have for whatever reason had a reemergence of it again as an adult. Not everyone gets to that shuttered in point and knowing the signs of OCD progressing to that point could be helpful. Feeling that since you or your child are not “that bad” can allow people to avoid getting help and brush it aside.
    Treatment options needed to be focused on more as we’ll especially since the availability for services for kids is not very good and possible ideas of where to look for help might have benefitted families along with new research.
    Glad it opened the door for hopefully more shows in the future.

    • I agree with everything you say, Tea and OCD, and “they” could do a show a week on the different aspects of OCD (I wish they would!). But I also thought it was a good start, giving people hope. Thanks for commenting!

  4. blog32114 says:

    I really enjoyed the program as well. I do wish they would have focused more on the different ways OCD can manifest though (scrupulosity, pure-O, etc.). Being a kid with OCD is incredibly challenging no matter what the circumstances. Having OCD and not knowing what’s wrong with you can make it that much worse.

    Overall, it’s awesome that this show helped to create more OCD awareness and truly inspiring to show the progress that those kids made.

    • I totally agree. There are so many facets to OCD that it would have been difficult to cover everything in that one show. But I think they did a good job of creating awareness, and giving hope to sufferers and their loved ones. I hope they continue to discuss other areas of OCD. Thanks for commenting!

  5. My girlfriend called me over to watch the recording with her this morning. I did cry my way through parts of it. And I appreciate the sensitive way in which they handled the issue. The only part I found myself clarifying for her (she wanted my opinion about the show) was that the reporter kept saying that the exposures were meant to show the children that their fears wouldn’t come true. In my understanding, that is not the point of exposures. The point is to learn that they can tolerate anxiety and uncertainty and that their level of discomfort will go down as they place themselves in these situations. But, I nitpick. I did so appreciate it. – Angie

    • I noticed that comment also, Angie, and agree with you. It’s uncertainty that needs to be accepted because really, we don’t KNOW that our fears won’t come true, right? As long as we are nitpicking, the other comment that I felt was “off” was a reference to us all having “a little OCD.” In my mind, if it’s little, it’s not OCD. I think that might have been misleading to people. Still, overall, I felt they did a good job.

  6. 71 & Sunny says:

    I love that this was shared with such a wide audience AND it was well done!

  7. From the comments, it sounds like it was a good show. I am disappointed to know that they said everyone was “a little OCD.” But that’s just a pet peeve of mine. Even a novel that I just read referred to someone as “being” OCD. Arg!

    I have set myself a reminder to look for the video after a week has passed from the original broadcast. Thank you for sharing the news about it and for all YOU do to spread the word, Janet. I appreciate you.

    • Oh, thanks for the kind words, Tina. You are so sweet. I don’t remember the exact wording but it was something like “We all at times can be a little OCD.” I’m cutting them some slack though, because as I said, I think overall they did a really good job. I’d love to hear what you think of it after you watch it!

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