Brain and Behavior

Scrupulosity OCD — You Have Choices!

“I’m such a sinner. I’m supposed to have pure thoughts. I’m so wicked!” Destiny’s incessant thoughts compelled her to pray, sing hymns, confess, and repent to no avail. Her religious leaders kept telling her that she was not a sinner. They reassured her by telling her that she was a good person. She didn’t know her reassurance seeking was actually a compulsion that kept strengthening her OCD.
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Brain and Behavior

No, Researchers Have Not Discovered the Cause of OCD

If "fake news" is an epidemic, we see it no place more clearly than in the media relations offices of universities that promote their professors' latest research results. Some of the blame falls on the researchers themselves, who have eschewed conservative, careful language in their studies and instead have turned to hyperbole and over-generalization.

The latest example of scientific "fake news" is the supposed discovery of the single cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). And we don't have to look any further than the news release published by the University of Würzburg to see how bad the problem is.

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: March 11, 2017


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

Well, depending on where you live in the world, you'll be "springing forward" late tonight (or early tomorrow -- just depends on how you look at it). Soon, the sun will start rising earlier and setting later (which is great news for many people who deal with the most common type of seasonal affective disorder), but before we reap the benefits of more sunlight, we first must adjust to "losing" an hour of our day.

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Anxiety and Panic

Shrieking in Silence: Can Anyone Hear?

You remember the chilling Kitty Genovese case? As Kitty hysterically shrieked for help -- her voice echoing through the New York night, 38 neighbors ignored her hysterical pleas. The neighbors’ blurry thought process, “Well, maybe someone else will help” or “I am not able to assist her.” Collectively, there was a diffusion of responsibility.

“What does this have to do with mind happiness?” you wonder. Let me explain.
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Caregivers

How to Stop Apologizing for Everything You Do

Do either of these situations sound familiar?

You start an email to your boss with, “I’m sorry to bother you, but…”


A colleague plops his papers down on the conference table, knocking your coffee over. “Sorry! Let me get this stuff out of your way,” you say as you begin cleaning up.

Maybe you’ve fallen into this over-apologizing trap or have found yourself saying “I’m sorry” for things that don’t merit an apology in the first place.
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Addiction

6 Signs You’re a Productivity Addict

Do a search on Google for “productivity” and you’re served up almost 18 million results.

Dive in and you’ll find blogs, websites, apps, op-eds, subreddits, consulting firms, podcasts, and scientific studies devoted to the art of efficiency.

Our obsession in modern society with doing more is rivaled only by our preoccupation with doing it harder, better, faster and stronger. We’re gunning the engines at max speed, cramming our work days full of tasks, then feeling guilty if we steal a quick second to call a friend or read a book for pure pleasure (gasp!).
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Motivation and Inspiration

OCD: “The Bow that You Have to Keep on Tying”

“It just doesn’t feel right. I have to fix it until it is just so!” “I need to figure it out, and once I do, I’ll feel free to move on!” “I have to check all the windows, then I’ll be able to sleep peacefully.” “I have to repeat my prayers until I know God has really heard them.” “Not knowing whether I may hurt my child makes me anxious. I waste too many hours reviewing my behavior to ensure I haven’t harmed her.”

What do those statements have in common?

When individuals experience OCD, accepting uncertainty seems to be the greatest challenge. They have extreme difficulty moving on with their day unless they feel 100% sure the answers to their doubts have been resolved. Whether it is doing something until it feels right, checking or washing, or questioning one’s behaviors, thoughts, or feelings, uncertainty is a main cause for compulsions.
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Anger

4 Ways To Stop Overthinking Your Mistakes

You know how when you trip walking down the street, it feels like the entire cityscape of people is staring at you in amusement? Or when you’ve worn the same pair of pants three times in one week, you’re completely paranoid your colleagues are judging you for your lack of fashion sense (or cleanliness)? What about when you fumble over your words in a presentation, and then can’t stop thinking about how every person in the room now thinks you’re a terrible speaker?

As human beings with egos and an innate self-awareness of our own feelings, actions and thoughts, we tend to notice and greatly exaggerate our flaws while assuming everyone around us has a microscope focused on our faults, mistakes and slip-ups. In truth, other people don’t notice them nearly as much as we assume. Why? Because they’re too busy noticing and greatly exaggerating their own flaws!
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Anxiety and Panic

Mothering with OCD: You Can Call Me Crazy if You Want To

Day One: They say my soul is troubled and I imagine it stumbling through an alley somewhere, barefoot and drunk with no idea how to get home. “But beautiful,” they add, and I imagine it with lipstick. Maybe eyeliner too -- something bold and daring. Something that really accentuates.

It used to chase me in my dreams, my mental illness. It still does, if I’m being honest. Me in a red-hooded cape running through a forest as fast as I can (which isn’t very fast at all, if I’m being honest). It laughing maniacally behind the trees, always behind me, no matter which way I turn: The Big Bad Wolf, strong and powerful. Branches break underneath my feet as I run them over; they slow me down and give me pause. I know the monster from my nightmares will catch up with me. It’s only a matter of time.
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Disorders

Poison Pills? When Meds Strike Back

This narrative details my personal experience with medications. Medications impact each person differently; please consult with your psychiatrist if side effects persist.
The medication bottle gravely intones, “May cause drowsiness, use care operating a vehicle, vessel, or dangerous machinery.” If only.

Over 15 years ago, a well-meaning nurse at UNC-Chapel Hill prescribed an antidepressant. “It will make you feel better,” she soothed. Capitulating to her, I begrudgingly placed the tiny capsule under my tongue.

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Bullying

Family Matters: Self-Preservation Tips

“Maybe when he is older, he will understand mental health’s impact. He will have a girlfriend and, one day, he will get it,” my late mother whispers to me.

I nod, more to appease my weary mother. Her eyes glow when discussing her three sons. With an infectious cackle and mischievous smile, she would tease me about my eccentricities. When I absentmindedly misplaced that night’s homework assignment, she would endearingly refer to me as “Barnacle Breath.”

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