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OCD Awareness Week 2017

obsessive-compulsive-disorderThe 9th-annual OCD Awareness Week begins today.

It always takes place during the second week in October with the purpose of raising awareness and understanding of OCD and related disorders, as well as the appropriate treatment. Many people with obsessive-compulsive disorder know that finding the right help is often one of the toughest battles in the fight against OCD.

Some estimates say it can take as long as 14-17 years from the onset of symptoms to get a correct diagnosis and treatment. Though my family didn’t realize it at the time, my son was one of the lucky ones — it took about two years after his diagnosis to get him the right help.

While that’s “not bad” in terms of OCD treatment, it is still much too long. It should have taken days, maybe weeks, but certainly not two years.

I started writing about OCD in 2010, a year after OCD Awareness Week was launched. My goals have always been to spread the word that OCD, no matter how severe, is treatable, and that exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy is the evidence-based psychological therapy for the disorder.

My message continues to be one of hope – no matter how severe your (or your loved one’s) OCD is at this moment, you can recover and live a happy, fulfilling life.

But you need the right therapy.

So how are we doing with spreading the word about the right treatment?

Not great. I get five or six emails a week from those with OCD, or parents of those with OCD, who just don’t understand why they or their loved ones are not getting better, and often are in even worse condition than they were before therapy began. How could this be? They are doing everything the therapist advises, and then some. They want more than anything to be free from the clutches of OCD, but they are losing hope.

People are losing years of their lives – needlessly – to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It’s not enough for those of us “in the know” to be spreading the word to those with OCD. Doctors, school counselors, and all professionals who might be the first point of contact need to be educated; they need to know there is a specific therapy (exposure and response prevention), that is used to fight OCD. There are actually therapists out there who are either not aware of ERP therapy, or choose not to use it. Indeed, it is sometimes the very people who are supposed to be helping us who steer us in the wrong direction, perhaps not maliciously, but due to ignorance.

While there are many ways to get involved in OCD Awareness Week, approaching these “experts” might be one of the most valuable things we can do. Most professionals really want to help and would appreciate being educated.

How great it would be if we could wipe out those unacceptable statistics, and get those with OCD the help they need and deserve – within days.

 

OCD Awareness Week 2017

Janet Singer

Janet Singer’s son Dan suffered from OCD so severe that he could not even eat. After navigating through a disorienting maze of treatments and programs, Dan made a triumphant recovery. Janet has become an advocate for OCD awareness and wants everyone to know that OCD, no matter how severe, is treatable. There is so much hope for those with this disorder. Janet, who uses a pseudonym to protect her son’s privacy, is the author of Overcoming OCD: A Journey to Recovery, published in January 2015 by Rowman & Littlefield. Her own blog, www.ocdtalk.wordpress.com, has reached readers in 167 countries. She is married with three children and resides in New England.


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APA Reference
Singer, J. (2017). OCD Awareness Week 2017. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 17, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/ocd-awareness-week-2017/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Oct 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Oct 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.