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Live OCD Free App Now Available

 

 

 

New Options for OCD Sufferers, Therapists & My Daughter

Live OCD Free is a new, revolutionary mobile therapy application which brings Exposure and Response Prevention into your own hands or the hands of your patients in a new and highly effective way. Currently, the app is available for iPhones, iPod Touch and iTablets and will next be launched into the Android market. The Live OCD Free app makes homework easier, holds patients accountable, and enables therapists to track and analyze their patient’s progress. The app can be purchased at the iTunes store for a one-time investment and more can be learned on the LiveOCDFree.com website.

Live OCD Free is ideally suited to help both individuals (adults and children) and professionals alike be more efficient and achieve faster results. Live OCD Free helps individuals and therapists to be more efficient by assisting the OCD sufferer in designing a uniquely personalized Exposure and Response Prevention treatment program. If the OCD sufferer is working with a therapist, all the data stored in the app can be easily emailed to the therapist thus enabling an even more fine-tuned treatment plan.

Live OCD Free helps children and adults gradually face their fears by creating a series of exercises or challenges to practice on their iPhones, iPod Touch and iTablets. These exercises empower users to resist the urge to give in to compulsions, tackle excessive or intrusive thoughts in a manageable way, and reduce anxiety in just a short period of time.

The Live OCD Free app features:

  • An individualized ERP program
  • Assistance working through exercises
  • Reminders to practice
  • Goals and rewards
  • Prerecorded and customizable motivational messages
  • Relaxation and mediation techniques
  • A comprehensive user’s guide
  • Tutorial videos
  • Progress reports to share with therapists

For Children, there is the Live OCD Free Worry Wizard. It is a fun and empowering game with the goal of achieving victory over the “Worry Wizard.” It contains OCD specific music, graphics, and inspirational quotes from other children with OCD.

Live OCD Free is now available in the iTunes store for download on your iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad and has been developed by Dr. Kristen Mulcahy, Director of the Cognitive Behavioral Institute in Falmouth, Mass.

YouTube Preview Tutorials are also available:

*Promotional Code for Therapists: Interested in reviewing or previewing Live OCD Free? A limited number of applications are available for free download.

In closing, this is the most exciting new option for OCD sufferers and therapists alike.  The peer reviews from our most renowned OCD experts internationally are universally impressed with this app!  

My daughter is involved with this application and its developer Dr. Kristen Mulcahy and will  be speaking for and representing the app at the International OCD Foundations Annual Meeting in Chicago in July! Is this not amazing? My daughter’s suffering has been so severe for so long and now she will be dedicating her treatment to this application on her iPhone, serving as its official spokesperson, conducting interviews and will be video blogging on the LiveOCDFree.com website for others to follow her lead!

 

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Possible New Treatment for OCD “Checkers”

New Therapy for OCD In Field Testing

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on April 11, 2012

New Therapy for OCD In Field Testing Individuals who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are often plagued by incessant self-talk that leads to compulsive checking.

Although the thoughts may be slight — such as checking to be sure the gas stove is turned off — individuals can become debilitated as they become locked in a vicious cycle of fear and doubt.

Canadian researchers at Concordia University are now testing a novel approach to treatment for compulsive checking that they believe could mean vast improvements in the quality of life of countless individuals.

“For years, the best way to treat compulsive checking in OCD sufferers has been through a difficult therapeutic process known as exposure and response prevention, or ERP,” said Dr. Adam Radomsky, a professor in the Department of Psychology.

“By facing their worst fears repeatedly until their anxiety declines, patients learn to diffuse their hypervigilant checking responses — in theory.” In practice, however, this type of treatment often results in patients quickly discontinuing the therapy.

“Refusal rates for ERP are unacceptably high, which is why we need to develop a new and refined treatment that specifically works for compulsive checking.”

The new treatment intervention builds on previous research which found that individuals with OCD who compulsively checked certain aspects of their surroundings did so because of an inflated sense of perceived responsibility.

“If I don’t turn off the stove, the house will burn down,” is a plausible thought that can quickly devolve into an obsessive cycle of checking and re-checking, and can even result in an inability to leave the house. Yet, as shown by Radomsky’s previous research, performing these seemingly senseless repetitions actually results in a loss of confidence.

Radomsky believes that modifying the patient’s inflated feelings of personal responsibility and reducing predictions of seriousness of anticipated misfortunes, can turn the cycle around.

By placing the emphasis on how people think rather than on what they do, the intervention targets people’s faulty beliefs about how responsible they think they are, about their own memories, and about the dangers that they perceive.

Treatment milestones include normalizing inflated responsibility — through restoring confidence in memory — all the way to reducing self-doubt and guilt. The goal of the intervention is to improve the way in which individuals perceive themselves, and the world around them.

Developed in the lab, Radomsky’s research is set to show real promise in the field.

“For me and my team,” said Radomsky, “this work will capitalize on all of our previous experimental research and lead us to testing a new intervention based on our previous findings. It’s our hope that this work will lead to a more substantial test of the treatment, which in turn could influence how people treat OCD in Montreal, in Canada and beyond.”


Mothers Letter To Suffering Daughter

My Dearest Julia,

We are going to do things differently. We are going to communicate. I am not going to allow you to give up on yourself. You are a courageous, smart, loving, wonderful person who has a big problem but a problem, believe it or not, which has solutions. You must be willing to, at least, try. I know you don’t feel courageous but courage is not the lack of fear but how you react and cope with the fear.

I know how impossibly difficult it is to discuss your OCD so I want to correspond with you via email until we are able to have a personal, face to face, dialogue. I am only trying to help you the best I know how. I have extensively researched, spoken to experts and corresponded with countess others suffering from OCD. From all this information, I’ve learned a lot and have come to some conclusions.

I realize you feel helpless against your OCD, the intrusive thoughts and need to act upon them. This I now, more fully understand. You must try to understand, too, that I don’t see things through the eyes of OCD so I upset you unintentionally.

I’d like to begin with what I have learned about the brain and OCD. It is not your fault you have OCD. You, and all OCD sufferers, brain chemistry and structures are different than people without OCD. Put in simple terms, 2 parts of the brain are bound together where there should be space in between. Your brain sends a signal and it gets stuck or locked and can’t be further processed. Then that thought gets amplified over and over in a non logical way. It gets stuck or locked. The way to make it better is to re-wire the connections in your brain. I can show you pictures of brain scans proving this fact.

Just so your clear, obsessions are thoughts and compulsions are the actions you take relating to the thought.

Remember when your sister, Carmela, could not speak because the speech part of her brain was damaged? The only way for her to be able to speak was to re-wire the connections around that part of her brain. The same is similar for you. You have to re-wire those connections so that the thoughts and actions will no longer be “locked.” I have learned there is more than one way accomplish this task. As you know, the most popular and most used is exposure therapy. But, there are also other ways which offer really good results.

One person describes OCD this way, “I compare OCD to a spider spinning a web at warp speed. The center of the web is the triggering event. Every intersection of the web is another possibility OCD creates in my mind, and it can grow infinitely. Feeding the spider by acting out the compulsions only makes her spin faster, until the web is so large, the spinning so out of control, the situation so infinite and sticky that all I can do is collapse in a sobbing heap of submission.  How do you stop when you get to that point? How do you know what’s real and what isn’t?  I want to stop being afraid. But I’ve always been afraid, though the crippling nature of contamination fear is new to me. This is not the first time OCD has prevented me from enjoying life, but it is the most severe. It is hell. I just want my life back more than anything in the world.”

She also says, “I f’—ing hate this disorder. It takes everything… I deeply resent the fact that I have to struggle painfully with shit that is completely normal for everyone else.”

That is all for now. I am going to email you often and I expect some response each time. I adore you and want only what is best for you. Sometimes, I may say things you don’t want to hear as you may to me. The point is to communicate. Since your not in any kind of therapy program, we must create our own. This is non negotiable. It will be difficult at times, and I will be here for you every step of the way.

I will listen and respect you at all times. There will be things I am going to require, things for which you may not agree but they will be required, none the less. If we work as a team it will be much better than if we don’t. You must remember, though, I am the mother and you are the daughter. I need you to trust me. And, things in our lives will improve.

Your loving mother,

Momma


Where Do You Go When There’s No Where To Go?

As a parent of a child with severe OCD, I can attest to the difficulties life presents. It’s a never ending cycle just trying to keep any semblance of normalcy within the family. Now, compound this dilemma with a child who’s many past therapist have essentially given up on any chance for her recovery leaves a parent feeling hopeless and desperate. The endless quest for someone to help her recover,even in the smallest of ways, has become a heart breaking endeavor. I’ve contacted the foremost experts in the field, all over the country, and received several referrals to local therapists and treatment programs. One after the next states, “we don’t accept insurance.” I contacted, again, the leading expert at Duke and he stated, “Am sorry to have to be the bearer of hard news—I wouldn’t organize services for kids that way if it was up to me—but just about everyone in the specialty clinical framework is out of network and no one accepts Medicaid.” How can it be true that the most ill children who are suffering so terrible are not accepted for treatment unless you can pay for it out-of-pocket? Everything you read says how critical early intervention is for children with OCD yet they are systematically eliminated from quality care even though they are covered under major insurance policies.


Please Help Me Understand OCD

Please help me understand OCD. I have a 12.5 yr. old daughter who spends every waking moment obsessing and compulsing. She is convinced her school is       contaminated. This is her whole life. For example, she takes showers that last hours and hours. Over & over; she scrubs herself raw, until her fingers bleed where there used to be nails and nail beds. She scrubs her eyes and up her nasal passages with soap to the point her vision is blurry all the time and her sinuses burn continuously. She violently brushes her teeth to the point of permanent enamel loss. She scrubs her tonsils and uvula until she gags or vomits. She scrubs her scalp and hair to the point it’s breaking at the roots and falling out. She eats toothpaste, which is toxic, to kill the germs in her stomach from eating at school. She dreads school because of all the horrible decontamination rituals afterwords.

She gets angry if I bring up the topic of OCD and cries that I don’t understand. She won’t take her medicine. She hates therapists. Most of all she is convinced there is nothing or no one to help her get better. She knows she’s doomed to a life of misery and expresses that the way she has to live is just too much to bare. She is angry that others can just be normal.

Please offer me some insight, advice, personal stories, suggestions or anything at all to assist me with her plight.

Thank you in advance,


Enabling, The Invisible Fence, Germaphobia

Caring for a child who has a severe mental illness is exceptionally difficult. Conducting daily life with a child suffering from OCD, who appears perfectly normal to the outside world but is plagued by behaviors which are illogical and debilitating, seen only by those closest, is nothing short of a seemingly hopeless task. The reality is, along with the child afflicted with OCD, it is the entire family, or the single parent, who gets mired up into the child’s irrational world. When it comes to different levels of enabling; where do you draw the line between maintaining any semblance of peace verses total chaos? What degree of enabling is acceptable?

My daughter of 12 has severe OCD with exceptionally debilitating germaphobia. Among other issues, as with many childhood OCD sufferers, she is morbidly germaphobic of her school. The rituals to rid herself of the germs supposedly obtained at school are simply horrid. She believes she and all related must be decontaminated after school every day. These rituals are seemingly endless, take hours to complete and cause her physical and emotional pain. However, any deviation from these rituals catapults her into a ostensibly eternal, stress induced frenzy. Having dealt with the myriad of her OCD symptoms since before the age of 4, I’ve learned the hard way that there are no simple answers to the “enabling” question. To add insult to injury she also has recovery avoidance which literally leaves me alone to fend for our lives. I am continuously seeking solutions for her recovery. The bottom line, however, is that I’m on my own, everyday, to make the “fence” decisions in an effort to grapple with her monstrous malady.

When is any level of enabling acceptable? Dealing with OCD is hard enough but doing so within the multifaceted phases involved with childhood and puberty can be an exceptionally discouraging endeavor. Childhood OCD is certainly unique in many ways from adult OCD. The invisible fence the adult must teeter, between whether to enable or not, is infinitesimally thin. However, my experience has proven, one side of this phantom fence allows for some modicum of enabling and the other side allows for none. I must say that I enable her the very least I feel possible at the particular time. However, my experience has proven if all enabling ceases, her grades plummet from A’s to F’s and inpatient psychiatric wards may well, again, be part of her immediate future. Conversely, while the other side of this illusive fence professes to not allow any accommodation to the OCD as it shall certainly propel the disease yet further into the deep chasm of the OCD inferno. The conundrum is simply that the middle of the fence seems to get more & more miniscule, and at times, appears non-existent.

Therefore, one must ask, is there a middle ground to enabling or is it simply an invisible fence I must teeter upon minute by minute?


OCD Recovery Avoidance

My daughter has had OCD since before turning 4. She is now 12.5 years old and I’m just now learning about this thing called RA, recovery avoidance. But how can this possibly be? Surely, it’s not for my lack of seeking help from countless doctors, neurologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists. I personally dedicate my life to her recovery. I researched on, what I thought to be, comprehensive internet searches over these many years. From the age of 4, I began taking her to “experts” in the field of childhood mental disorders. Time and time again, she and I were carelessly dismissed. I was told repeatedly, “she is fine, there is nothing wrong with her.” But how could this be? Her obsessions and compulsions were profound! She had to say and do things which were nonsensical, sometime harmful, endlessly!

What took 7 years, until she was 11, was for me to realize that my child was masking all symptoms and denying they even existed to all the specialists as they carried on their “private sessions.” Even from such a young age, she was afraid, afraid to admit these issues plaguing our lives.

When she turned 11, after much persistence, she was accepted into a “prestigious” OCD Cognitive Behavioral Exposure Therapy program at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Every week we would drive the hour there and the hour back for her to participate in the treatment process. Finally, for the first time, she began to speak relatively freely to the doctor about the types of symptoms she experienced on an ongoing basis. Although she was willing to tell some of what she was and had endured, she was still holding back the severity of her illness. This too was to be her first opportunity to be professionally evaluated and have the proper tests administered to determine her OCD severity scales. Even with her guarded answers, when the results were soon revealed she was, none the less, still categorized as having severe OCD.

Hooray I thought, I have finally broken through the barriers of providing the source of treatment for my suffering child. I thought, now we will bravely be able to take on this next, difficult task of exposure therapy. There is at last hope, hope for my precious child. Week after week went on. Back and forth we drove but the more agitated she became. Her MD/PhD therapist explained, “she is not ready for exposures, I must first take time with her to prepare her for the upcoming tasks. They then began “talk therapy” or so I thought. As I patiently awaited her to complete each weekly session it became more and more apparent that she was getting worse not better. As I expressed my concerns to the doctor he appeared more frustrated than accommodating. After months of “treatment” with no improvement in sight he called me into his tiny office in the little gray room with cinder block walls to state, “she doesn’t want to get better,” she just isn’t ready” and worst of all, “she isn’t suffering enough yet to make her want to seek treatment.” He went on to say, “I will remain her doctor and prescribe her medications but further treatment is futile.”

My heart broke at that very moment. What does he mean she’s not suffering enough! How dare he make such a comment. She spends every waking moment consumed by the thoughts and rituals. There is never a break, never a rest from this dreadful disease. I wanted to scream, please, oh please, do your job and make her better. We left that day from Duke no closer to recovery that we had been since she was 4. Where was I to go, what was I to do? Again rejected, as though none of them, not a one has a clue.

Now, I’ve discovered RA (recovery avoidance). I now understand, that the experts agree, a certain percentage of OCD sufferers experience recovery avoidance. They simply refuse to take the necessary steps required to release themselves. Its thought that sufferers are either too afraid to do the tasks necessary due to their mortal fears associated with their OCD. Whether their fears are based in reality or not, the fear they experience is their true fear and high walls can be built to create a falsified illusion of comfort and safety in a vain attempt to protect themselves. Or, the other rational for RA is simply called Incentive Deficits. This is where the sufferer does not have enough incentive to allow treatment. We all thrive on incentives to drive our actions throughout life. Wouldn’t the knowledge that treatment will work be incentive enough to release this debilitating illness from ones own mind? I’m so happy to finally be able to give it a name. So at least now, I have two possibilities from which to choose to explain her seemingly inexplicable behavior.

I have since come to understand, or quasi understand my wonderful yet tormented child’s predicament. I believe she allows such suffering and pain to continue because of both factors. She fears treatment because she believes no human will ever be able to help her. She fears exposures as she is convinced crossing her imaginary lines will surely kill her or someone she loves. Most notably, however, I believe the most profound reason for her RA is that she knows nothing other than OCD! Having suffered since she was four years old, this is the only life she knows. She has no memories from which to rely. Memories of better days, happy thoughts from a better life are so far from her scope of reality that she continues to spiral further down the OCD drain.

What is the answer, is there someone to blame? Why was I never told of RA? Why did the doctor just turn her away? I am in a quagmire from which I see no end. Can anyone out there chime in?


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