Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A Real tough nut to crack. Anyone who has struggled with and survives OCD, just as I myself have for the past one and half decades, will know how nagging and persistent a dis-order OCD is, in spite of being perhaps one of the top three common mental health dis-orders.
Treatments aren’t so easily available. I mean, proper, proficient and effective treatment plans. Most of us cringe from the usual exposure and desensitization method, and with the impossibility of a professional working with us “round the clock” while we are hitting the desensitization path and often going cold turkey mode, OCD treatment can often, does often, take the wind out of a survivor.
As you guys already know, besides the blog running over years now the second mental health endeavor I founded and launched this May is called Sojourners’ Cove. We are into awareness drives, survivor resource management, maintaining a handy directory of licensed professionals for anyone in need, and running a quarterly e-magazine Carrot Seeds completely dedicated to mental health.
And now, Sojourners’ Cove is joining hands with a fellow mental health project TreatMyOCD to address and spread more awareness and resources to OCD warriors.
TreatMyOCD has a great FREE app called nOCD available for OCD survivors. It is a relevant and useful tool for anyone to monitor their own OCD and follow through some step by step process in checking OCD, and “available round the clock”.
Allow me to introduce one of the nOCD team members to you now, here on this blog for the first time, to answer some very useful questions with regard to OCD, and also this free tool available for download to self-monitor your treatment.
Over to Patrick! 🙂
Q: Why is OCD so often trivialized and undertreated in spite of being one of the most common yet one of the nastiest disorders?
A big part of this is the fact that people see someone’s compulsions (for instance, handwashing or repeatedly lining things up) but for whatever reason never find out what’s motivating those compulsions. The behaviors themselves, out of context, can be kind of strange or funny. And because people never learn that they’re motivated by intense distress, they think they’re personality quirks, not symptoms of a potentially debilitating condition.
Q. How does one become aware that what they might be suffering/struggling with is OCD?
This is a very good, and very important, question! It takes not only education (knowing what OCD is) but also self-awareness (being able to fit your own experience into the diagnostic criteria for OCD). One way is to talk with a professional, but that’s what everyone tells you and it isn’t always helpful. Another way is to ask yourself: am I repeatedly doing certain things in an attempt to get rid of this bad feeling? If so, there’s a good chance you might want to investigate OCD more. I’m definitely not saying you have OCD. But it could be worth looking into.
Q. Why is the treatment of OCD tough in most scenarios/for most patients? What makes OCD so persistent an issue?
There are problems with diagnosis, and problems with treatment. OCD is often misdiagnosed as one of the other anxiety disorders, or missed entirely in patients who have something like a mood or eating disorder. So people can be in treatment for other conditions for many years without anyone mentioning OCD.
Even if people do find treatment, some forms of therapy can make OCD worse by serving as reassurance for people or encouraging them to engage in their compulsions. For instance, someone with OCD who has intrusive thoughts about pedophilia brings up those thoughts to a therapist. The therapist says, “But let’s challenge the thought. Would you really want to do that to a child?” The therapist is inviting the person to engage once again in the exact same compulsion (trying to figure out if they’d really want to do that to a child) that’s been perpetuating their obsessive-compulsive cycle.
Q. What inspired the project treatmyocd? Tell us a little about its birth and objectives please?
The founder and CEO of nOCD, Stephen Smith, had his own really rough experience with OCD. He was a sophomore in college, and the lower-grade OCD symptoms he had experienced throughout his life exploded into full-on suffering. Even once he sought treatment (a big first step that many people are never able to achieve) the process was grueling. Stephen realized that there had to be better ways to find a community of fellow sufferers, create and maintain a clinically proven ERP treatment regimen, and track how well your treatment was going. Those are the main goals of nOCD, but it’s only the start.
The rest of us on the team are similarly inspired by personal or family experience with OCD, and a strong drive to bring better treatment options to people around the world. It’s impossible to look at the current state of mental health care and not see glaring problems like accessibility, affordability, and efficacy of treatment. People are suffering around the world, and we know what it’s like to suffer in that way. This is what motivates us every day.
Q. What exactly is the App nOCD?
nOCD is a free platform for OCD treatment, available now on iPhone and coming soon to Android. It’s also a growing community of people learning how to treat their OCD and sharing their knowledge with others.
The app offers a comprehensive treatment plan, a community of people supporting each other, and a ton of data about the exercises you do to help yourself feel better. It also has an SOS feature that allows you to get immediate help in the worst moments your OCD can throw at you. In particular, people love the SOS and community features right now.
Q. How and why does the nOCD app work better in managing OCD, than other common self-help tools such as will power and logicking with self against compulsive thoughts and so on, all of which doesn’t really help manage it?
As I hinted at above, trying to use logic against compulsive thoughts will usually backfire. They don’t really seem to operate on the level of logic– for me, at least, they feel more like a fear response. This is probably even more true for people like me and Stephen whose OCD is what they call “Pure O.” We don’t really have externally visible compulsions, but rather recurring thought patterns in our head that can be really hard to track and treat. Some people who do have externally visible compulsions report that thought-challenging is somewhat helpful, but in general it shouldn’t be the first strategy you try for OCD.
Willpower is great, but it isn’t a strategy. You need it to get through the difficult parts of your strategies, but on its own it won’t help you too much. You have to apply it in organized ways, or you’ll just end up causing yourself a lot of pain (for example, while doing an exposure) without consistent results.
Q. Who can use this tool? Which kind of people / users can nOCD help?
We’ve designed nOCD for everyone, whether you’re already in treatment and need some help or you haven’t even begun the process yet. The app offers structured treatment plans, but isn’t limited to a certain type of OCD. So it can help with Harm OCD, Relationship OCD, Pure O, Maternal OCD, and so on.
Q. Does this app have any relevance and usefulness for licensed professionals working with OCD patients?
Definitely! We’re always hearing from professionals who say the app is a great supplement to their work, and a great way to help patients get better throughout the week, instead of just during an hour-long appointment every week.
Q. Is nOCD app absolutely free? And does the medical data recorded via/in the app remain fully confidential? How safe is this app?
The app is completely free, and all of your data is anonymized (we can’t tell who you are) and protected (nobody else can get to it).
To learn more, please check out our website.
(Q&A courtesy : asked by Yours Truly and answered by Patrick, team nOCD)
Hope this blogpost serves as many of my dear readers not just as an informative post but also as a valuable resource to disram OCD.
Until next time,
Author and blog owner : © Nivedita Dey, 2017
Image courtesy : TreatMyOCD © and other stock image websites