allure: Everything You Should Know About OCD
Christina Maxwell, MA, LCPC, LMHC, was recently quoted in an article on allure on understanding the basics of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
While OCD has become more familiar to many of us thanks to TV characters like Monica from Friends and the title character of the series Monk, the article’s author, Elizabeth King, notes that “the disorder is far more complex and can be more debilitating than Hollywood usually suggests. For starters, the many different ways that OCD manifests vary from person to person, the symptoms can morph over time, and there are a number of different types of OCD.”
From the article:
- “I see a lot of harm OCD,” Maxwell says, which consists of fears that the person will cause harm to others or themselves, or that serious harm will be inflicted on them by others, and so they try to be hypervigilant of their thoughts, words, and behavior in order to prevent doing damage. Maxwell adds that in her work with children who have OCD, it’s common for them to have a fear of being kidnapped, and the accompanying compulsive behaviors are elaborate bedtime rituals in which the child will repeatedly check door locks, windows, alarm systems, and seek reassurance from their parents that they will be okay.
- Maxwell says that, for example, if a child with OCD fears being kidnapped, exposure therapy could start with just having the child say the word kidnap out loud, then escalate all the way to having the child say “I wish and hope and pray that I get kidnapped.” Through this process, patients learn that the intrusive thoughts aren’t real things that can hurt them or others, and also learn to stop themselves from carrying out rituals in order to calm themselves down.