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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,, has reached readers in 167 countries. She is married with three children and resides in New England.

Articles by Janet Singer:

  • Neurotoxicity and Its Relation to Psychiatric Symptoms
    19 Dec 2017

    Neurotoxicity is defined as toxicity within the nervous system that stems from exposure to substances known as neurotoxins. These neurotoxins affect nervous system function, and can be associated with brain […]

  • Plan for a Healthy Retirement
    16 Aug 2017

    My husband and I are smack in the middle of the baby boomer generation, which means we are now watching many of our peers navigate the next, often long-awaited phase […]

  • The Importance of Connection
    21 Jun 2017

    I don’t suffer from depression, but I certainly have my moments of feeling down in the dumps. Sometimes it’s because I’m dealing with difficult issues, or life is just not […]

  • Brain-Circuit-Based Therapies for OCD
    17 Jun 2017

    I say it over and over again when I write about OCD. The evidence-based psychological treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy known as exposure and […]

  • OCD and Rage
    15 Jun 2017

    When my son Dan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder was severe, he was so imprisoned by the disorder he could barely function. Not surprisingly, he was also depressed. Typically a mild-mannered young man, he […]

  • The Only Constant Is Change
    30 May 2017

    Years ago, when I was going through some difficult times, a friend told me, “Just remember. Nothing ever stays the same. This too shall pass.” Her words truly helped me […]

  • Dealing with OCD — When Instincts Are Wrong
    19 May 2017

    So many times in my life, especially in my role as a mom, I have trusted my instincts when faced with difficult decisions. When my son was dealing with severe […]

  • When Adult Children with OCD Live at Home
    11 May 2017

    Over the years, I have connected with many people whose lives have been affected by OCD. Because I’m a parent whose son has obsessive-compulsive disorder, some of the most heartbreaking […]

  • Causes of Psychosis
    22 Apr 2017

    When my son Dan was diagnosed with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, his psychiatrist informed me and my husband that Dan was “borderline psychotic.” In other words, our son was out of […]

  • When Parents and Children Are Estranged
    19 Apr 2017

    As an advocate for mental health awareness, I hear a lot of stories from a lot of people. Some of the most heartbreaking ones to me are those where parents […]

  • ERP and ACT for OCD — Making Sense of the Acronyms!
    16 Apr 2017

    As I, and many others, have mentioned numerous times before, exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy is the evidence-based psychological treatment of choice for obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, over the years […]

  • Does Your Therapist Have OCD?
    13 Apr 2017

    When I first became involved in OCD advocacy in 2010, I would occasionally come across articles or books written by therapists or health-care professionals whose biographies revealed they had obsessive-compulsive […]

  • Mental Illness or Brain Disorder?
    24 Mar 2017

    Why is it that the idea of “mental illness” is so much scarier to many people than any other illness? We talk freely about cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, yet […]

  • The Reality of Broken Heart Syndrome
    22 Mar 2017

    “She died from a broken heart.” Is that really possible? Many of us will likely experience what we call a broken heart at some point in our lives, but can […]

  • Who Is to Blame for My Son’s OCD?
    19 Mar 2017

    There is no question the stigma of mental illness is alive and well, even as many of us work tirelessly to eradicate it. Sharing our stories and being candid about […]

  • OCD and Social Scrupulosity
    17 Mar 2017

    Most people associate scrupulosity with religion, and indeed religious scrupulosity is often an issue for some people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Those with this type of OCD have unreasonable religious expectations […]

  • Interoceptive Exposures for Those with Panic Disorder
    25 Feb 2017

    Have you ever had a panic attack? If you have, you know how frightening and debilitating they can be. Some common symptoms include a pounding heart, sweating, trembling, and chest […]

  • A Baby Has Died — What Should We Do?
    19 Feb 2017

    In our society, death is an uncomfortable topic — something most of us prefer not to talk about unless absolutely necessary. When the time does come, however, we are usually […]

  • OCD, Worry, and Uncertainty — Then and Now
    17 Feb 2017

    When I was a junior in college almost forty years ago, I spent the year studying abroad in England. Going overseas for college at that time wasn’t like it is […]

  • OCD and Black-and-White Thinking
    13 Feb 2017

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder is often accompanied by some cognitive distortions, which are basically inaccurate beliefs that usually make us feel badly about ourselves. One of the more common cognitive distortions that […]

  • Increase in Suicide Rates and Teen Depression
    04 Feb 2017

    Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report on January 11, 2017, detailing our country’s progress in twenty-six public health categories. The report is based on […]

  • Mental Health and Loneliness
    28 Jan 2017

    As an advocate for mental health awareness, I have learned a lot about various brain disorders and illnesses. Of course each one comes with its own set of symptoms which […]

  • OCD and the Big Picture
    18 Jan 2017

    When my son Dan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder was severe, many of the manifestations of his illness were obvious and serious. When you’re in college, it’s pretty tough to hide not being […]

  • Freedom from OCD
    14 Jan 2017

    When he was dealing with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, my son Dan spent nine weeks in a world-renowned residential treatment program. During this time, he kept saying things such as “I’m […]

  • OCD is Messy
    21 Dec 2016

    Since 2008 I have had the privilege of getting to know many people who deal with obsessive-compulsive disorder. We’ve connected through face-to-face meetings, email exchanges, telephone calls, and social media. […]

  • What If the ‘What Ifs’ Come True?
    19 Dec 2016

    Most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder typically realize their obsessions and compulsions are irrational and make no sense. There are times, however, that this belief can waver – especially when on […]

  • When to Seek Treatment for OCD
    14 Dec 2016

    Most experts agree that it is time to seek treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder when the illness “interferes with your daily life.” While “interfering” can mean different things to different people, it […]

  • Have OCD? You Can Still Keep the Bar High
    10 Dec 2016

    One of the main reasons I write about my family’s experiences is to get the word out that obsessive-compulsive disorder, no matter how severe, is treatable. Stories of recovery can give hope […]

  • The Rhyme and Reason of Rituals
    26 Nov 2016

    Whenever my children travel, I always make sure to tell them to “have a safe trip.”  Before my husband goes to sleep at night, he makes it a point to be sure all of […]

  • Choosing Exposure Response Prevention Therapy
    23 Nov 2016

    As I have mentioned in many of my articles, exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy is the front line treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder as recommended by the American Psychological Association. […]

  • Should OCD Be a Family Affair?
    20 Nov 2016

    When my seventeen-year-old son Dan was first diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, I wanted details. What was he thinking, how was he feeling, is today better or worse than yesterday? The […]

  • Preventive Therapy for OCD?
    18 Nov 2016

    The postpartum period is sometimes accompanied by anxiety, depression, and even obsessive-compulsive disorder. Studies on preventive therapy for postpartum OCD have shown promising results. What a great idea! Stop OCD in its […]

  • Why Don’t I Have OCD?
    29 Oct 2016

    I was an anxious child. The night before the first day of elementary school each year, I would sleep on top of my already made bed instead of getting under […]

  • Is He Really Fine?
    22 Oct 2016

    My son Dan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder often revolved around his thoughts more than his actions, so we really didn’t know anything was wrong until he told us. It’s not unusual for those […]

  • OCD and Doing the Opposite
    18 Oct 2016

    When my son Dan was struggling with severe OCD, his compulsions were all done “to keep something bad from happening.” In his mind, if he moved from his chair, neglected to […]

  • OCD and Ignorance
    15 Oct 2016

    I’ve been an advocate for OCD awareness since 2006, and from the very beginning I’ve received compliments from people after they hear how I did everything I could to help my […]

  • OCD and Messiness
    11 Oct 2016

    As I’ve frequently lamented, obsessive-compulsive disorder is an often misunderstood and misrepresented illness. Those with the disorder are often portrayed in the media as “neat freaks.” It is true that […]

  • Pure Obsessional OCD
    05 Oct 2016

    When my 17-year-old son Dan told me he had obsessive-compulsive disorder, my first comment was “But you never even wash your hands!” While that statement surely revealed my limited knowledge […]

  • Relationship OCD
    30 Sep 2016

    One thing is definite about obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is creative, with no shortage of themes to latch onto. Typically, OCD will attack the very things the person with the disorder […]

  • Medications for OCD and Activation Syndrome
    28 Sep 2016

    It seems to me that there are more commercials than ever before on television for all kinds of medications, including SSRI’s (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) which are antidepressants also used […]

  • Anxiety and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy
    25 Aug 2016

    When my son Dan was first diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he did not receive proper treatment. This is actually not uncommon for those with OCD. Wrong therapy, wrong drugs. His […]

  • OCD and Early Treatment Experiences
    23 Aug 2016

    As an advocate for OCD awareness, I have connected with many people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder. It seems to me that most people, in particular those who are older, have […]

  • OCD and Evidence-Based Therapy
    21 Aug 2016

    There is an eye-opening article in the New York Times called “Looking for Evidence That Therapy Works.” It states that while the evidence-based treatment known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) […]

  • OCD and The Solving Ritual
    16 Aug 2016

    When someone is diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, education is essential. Understanding what the disorder entails and how to best treat it are key components to recovery. So much to comprehend! […]

  • Fighting OCD Is a Potential Tug of War
    09 Aug 2016

    At the time my son Dan’s OCD was at its worst, he had not eaten in over a week. He would sit in his “safe” chair for hours at a […]

  • OCD in the Family? Try to Lighten Up
    05 Aug 2016

    Parents whose children suffer from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder are often devastated and heartbroken. Their formerly happy, loving, well-adjusted son or daughter is now barely functioning, caught up in a world […]

  • OCD Thoughts, or Just Thoughts?
    03 Aug 2016

    Obsessions, in relation to obsessive-compulsive disorder, are defined on the International OCD Foundation website as “thoughts, images or impulses that occur over and over again and feel outside of the […]

  • OCD and Depression
    22 Jul 2016

    When my son Dan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder was severe, he was barely functioning. He isolated himself from his friends, and could barely move from point A to point B. He’d spend […]

  • OCD and Healthy vs. Unhealthy Doubt
    19 Jul 2016

    When my son Dan was dealing with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, I would often watch over him like a hawk, taking note of all of his behaviors. Was this OCD? Was […]

  • Does Worry Equal Love?
    04 Jul 2016

    I write a lot about obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. So it’s not surprising that I recently found myself thinking about my own relationship with anxiety and worry over the years, […]