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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Patients with Severe OCD Can Receive Social Security Benefits

Did you know if your OCD has become so severe to the point that it is extremely interfering with your performance at work or your personal life, you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits? When an individual has OCD, they are locked into a cycle of uncontrollable obsessive and compulsive behaviors, and this at some point can start to become unbearable and interfere with daily activities (Laurence 2016). The time it takes to perform these obsessive rituals can lead to spending hours a day trying to make sure the ritual was completed and that the feeling of something being wrong is temporarily eliminated. OCD can also lead to clinical depression, and for this reason, individuals with OCD are treated with antidepressant medications (Laurence 2016).

If one’s OCD starts to become so severe to the point that it impedes all aspects of daily life, both in work and at home, then one is eligible to receive benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). According to Beth Laurence J.D., “your medical evidence will need to show that have frequent symptoms that adversely affect your social functioning, daily living activities, and/or the ability to concentrate and attend to tasks” (Laurence 2016). In other words, a person’s OCD has to interfere with one’s ability to concentrate in all areas of one’s life in order to qualify. To prove it is, there needs to be medical evidence that one cannot perform, for instance, at his or her job because the OCD is taking time away from the performance or one’s perfectionism compels the person to constantly recheck everything, which takes up more time that necessary (Laurence 2016). If the SSA sees that the person cannot do their job, then he or she will be asked to find another job in which their OCD does not interfere. This can be as simple as bagging groceries (Laurence 2016). However, if this is not possible, then along with strong medical evidence and ongoing treatment, you can qualify to receive disability benefits.

I found this to be extremely important, informative, and reassuring because the government is acknowledging OCD as a serious mental illness, something society lacks in addressing and handling. This is a step closer to understanding that mental illnesses are a real thing and people who suffer from this really do need assistance in some form. Providing Social Security benefits, I believe, is a positive approach in assisting those who suffer from the severity of this illness.

References:

Laurence, B. (n.d.). Social Security Disability and SSI Benefits for OCD | Disability Secrets. Retrieved February 26, 2016, from http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/win-can-you-get-disability-for-ocd.html

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Adrian Monk in Pop Culture

Typically, the media isn’t the best platform to showcase mental illnesses and the diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment that come along with them. If anything, the media is highly insensitive towards individuals that are diagnosed with these illnesses and have to constantly battle with on a daily basis.

This was quite evident on television when HBO introduced a series titled Monk, in 2009 that depicted Adrian Monk, a detective diagnosed with major OCD (Wortmann, 2013). However, the way his OCD was presented was distasteful and inaccurate. According to Fletcher Wortmann, author and individual diagnosed with OCD, the show was “hilariously inconvenient, painfully superficial, improbably untreatable OCD, which always involves counting and cleaning (because those are Hollywood’s very favorite OCD symptoms), and which can’t be managed, or even explained accurately to exasperated bystanders, because then there couldn’t be a show” (Wortmann, 2013). In other words, Pop Culture has no idea what they are talking about when it comes to the depiction of mental illnesses. They resort to the usual “cleaning out the room and closet” type scenario (which c’mon) how unoriginal can you be? In other words, media usually portrays patients with OCD with messy rooms, and so to treat their illness, the common thing to do is clean out possibly everything.

The show started out with a lot of inaccuracies and misinterpretations about the illness, and Worthmann laid out specific points that bothered him and reading through, they troubled me as well. First, Monk’s therapist figured the best way to treat him would be to prescribe medications, which is a solution and treatment doctors use to combat the illnesss. But get this. His therapist was a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. The main distinction there is, psychologists do not have the license to prescribe medication. Another flaw in the script was that Monk engages in a conversation with his deceased wife. How typical of a television series to have people with OCD conduct a conversation with a ghost or someone in his head. Not all people that suffer with mental illness speak to a voice in their head or a ghost of the past.  Last, but not least, it just so happened that as soon as Monk took his medication, he was instantly cured. Crazy, right? If the director and producer of this series knew one thing about mental illness, is that it takes years to treat, and it most definitely does not just get cured in a matter of minutes.

The inaccurate portrayal on Monk with OCD and after he is “cured” is pretty sickening. They make him out to be some crazy lunatic who does not have a single ounce of ‘normal’ in him. When he is on his medication, they make him out to be a drunk. For example, he is depicted as lethargic and not able to pick up his head nor react to when people would be talking to him. This lazy and insensitive portrayal of medication combatting a psychiatric illness has no association with real medication used in OCD therapy. Wortmann states, “The episode portrays medicine as an indulgence, a way to hide from your problems instead of confronting them…” (Wortmann, 2013). Not only this episode, but also other ones, has shown inconsistency in depicting the severity of mental illnesses and treating it with care and accurate measures. Clearly, this show is superficial, inaccurate, and an insensitive misinterpretation of OCD and those that suffer because of it.

References:

Monk (USA Network), Season 3, Episode 9, “Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine”. http://www2.usanetwork.com/series/monk/

Wortmann, F. (n.d.). Why “Monk” Stunk. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/triggered/201305/why-monk-stunk

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Hoarding is Real and Serious

Ever heard of the term hoarding? According to Randy Frost and Tam Hartl, “Compulsive hoarding has been defined as the excessive collection and failure to discard objects of apparently little value, leading to clutter, distress, and disability” (Pertusa et al., 2010). Hoarding is associated with several mental illnesses and is found to be a symptom of these disorders. The DSM-IV-TR, a published manual that recognizes all mental health disorders, and ICD-10, a medical classification for diseases, abnormal findings, signs and symptoms, and causes of injuries, mention hoarding quite extensively (Drimmelen-Krabbe, 2004). Although it is not mentioned as a symptom of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in DSM-IV-TR or in ICD-10, hoarding is listed as one of the 8 criteria for Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, according to Alberto Pertusa’s research (Pertusa et al., 2010).

Compulsive hoarding is prevalently shown in the media especially in television shows such as Hoarders, which was televised on Lifetime. The episodes showcased the stigma related with OCD by discussing the reasons as to why their mental illness came about (A&E Premieres, 2009). After introducing their behaviors, the subjects met with psychiatrists and established a treatment, which often involved getting a cleanup crew to remove whatever the hoarders had accumulated. According to A&E, the treatments not only included a cleanup crew but also involved family, friends, and other support systems. which showed that OCD cannot be resolved by containing a mess or cleaning it up. It involved excessive rehabilitation and therapy that could last several months to years. They introduce hoarders to innovative ways of thinking and discrete patterns of behavior in order to make the home a livable and usable space. Extreme cases not only involved intervention but also threats of eviction or the removal of minor children from the home (A&E Premieres, 2009).

Hoarding has undergone several reclassifications because its behavioral and psychological effect is so impactful. Not only is hoarding associated with obsessive and compulsive behaviors, it also has connections to Major Depressive Disorder as well as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Hall et al., 2013). Because hoarding is classified under numerous disorders, treatment includes the attempt to eliminate all the prevalent illnesses. However, treatment does not necessarily eliminate hoarding behaviors. Another significant factor in reclassifying hoarding was the detection that more people could be diagnosed with hoarding behaviors than OCD. This seems to imply  that hoarding might not be a subtype of OCD but instead its own illness with similar symptoms and patterns (Hall et al., 2013). According to Brian Hall, These disorders include Body Dysmorphic DisorderTrichotillomania, and Excoriation in which symptoms such as “obsessive preoccupation and repetitive behaviors” are significantly amplified.

References:

“A&E Premieres New Original Nonfiction Series “Hoarders“. The Futon Critic. August 11, 2009. http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2009/08/11/a-and-e-premieres-new-original-nonfiction-series-hoarders-32342/20090811aande01/

Drimmelen-Krabbe, J. (n.d.). WHO ICD-10 Evaluation and evolution: ICD-10 Training courses. European Psychiatry. http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/ICD-10_2nd_ed_volume2.pdf

Hall, Brian; Tolin, David; Frost, Randy; Steketee, Gail (2013). “An exploration of comorbid symptoms and clinical correlates of clinically significant hoarding symptoms“. Depression and Anxiety 30: 67–76. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23213052

Pertusa, A., Frost, R., & Mataix-Cols, D. (n.d.). When hoarding is a symptom of OCD: A case series and implications for DSM-V. Retrieved November 2, 2015, from http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0005796710001464/1-s2.0-S0005796710001464-main.pdf?_tid=cbb14686-80e4-11e5-ad6e-00000aacb35d&acdnat=1446415766_fa97fb7ce067b92b992347327c9d98d5

Categories
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Trial and Error: Diagnosing and Treating OCD

By: Sharmila Dass

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects about 2 to 3% percent of the world’s population and usually begins in individuals ranging from 22 to 36 years old (Jenike, 2005). Individuals that suffer from OCD have feelings that something bad will occur if he or she does not perform a specific ritual. This phenomenon can lead to anxiety and an unexplainable feeling of incompleteness (Jenike, 2005). In other words, individuals cannot continue, or even, start their day without making sure that they have completed all steps in their ritualistic activity.

Because this is a psychiatric illness that needs to be dealt with carefully, physicians created a basis for determining whether or not a patient has OCD and measuring the severity of the condition. According to Jenike’s article, patients that have OCD usually understand that their behavior is extreme and unusually different and try to hide their feelings because they are embarrassed. However, some patients genuinely feel as if they are correct and so they go to great lengths to justify the reasons as to why they have obsessive and compulsive thoughts and act in a ritualistic manner. There is no physical test to diagnose patients with OCD. Instead, physicians rely on routine screening questions to assist in the diagnosis. In his 2005 study, it was stated that these questions ask if the patient has repetitive thoughts that make him or her anxious, if they clean or wash their hands frequently, and if they overly check things. If their answer is a definite yes to any of these questions, further tests are done to determine the correct diagnosis (Jenike, 2005).

 Once a diagnosis is made, treatment follows. With a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication, patients feel a reduced effect of their illness, but it is difficult to completely eradicate. Behavioral therapy includes facing their fears and the basis of their OCD and preventing Obsessive-compulsive thoughts, such as repetitive thoughts regarding violence and the fear of germs (Jenike, 2005). Cognitive therapy includes challenging the patient’s maladaptive thoughts – thoughts that are viewed as unstable and flawed like the belief that one must be loved by everyone in order to have and feel self-worth (Jenike, 2005). Medication such as serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, a type of drug that affects the chemicals that nerves in the brain use to send messages, can be taken alone but only have a moderate effect on the patient (Selective Serotonin, 2015). Therefore, when medications alone fail, physicians treat their patients with a combination of serotonin-reuptake inhibitors and another drug to treat effectively. However, the most effective form tends to be a mixture of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication. The last resort is neurosurgery, which is avoided except in the most extreme cases (Jenike, 2005).

It is difficult to properly diagnose and treat OCD but with the support of family and friends, the journey to a healthy lifestyle is a little easier. Of course it takes a long time and a substantial amount of therapy to even reduce the effects of OCD, but it is possible to once again, live a normal life. If you know someone that exhibits signs of obsessive and compulsive thoughts and behaviors, reach out to them because they are usually embarrassed by their illness or scared of someone’s reaction to them (Jenike, 2005).

 

References

Jenike, Michael. “Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder.” Massachusetts Medical Society, 12 Aug. 2005. Web. 5 Oct. 2015. <http://www.jasoncartermd.com/resources/pdf/Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.pdf>.

“Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor.” MedicineNet, Inc., 4 Oct. 2015. Web. 5 Oct. 2015. <http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10864>.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

What the Media Really Thinks About Celebrities with OCD

By: Sharmila Dass 

Have you ever heard of OCD? Also known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it is extremely prevalent in society today and has been displayed multiple times on television, through celebrities, and even in movies.  Not only has it been displayed in the media, actual celebrities have been diagnosed with OCD, and this has raised awareness for the illness quite extensively. It is often portrayed as a ritualistic and obscure illness that makes you appear to be a perfectionist, when in reality, you can’t control your actions. For example, one may constantly wash his or her hands in fear of germs and bacteria, which is also known as mysophobia (Europe PubMed, 2001). Also, the act of compulsive hoarding, which falls under the Diogenes Syndrome, is a subset of OCD and involves in the hoarding of unwanted and unnecessary items and ultimately self-neglect (Healthline Networks, 2015). With OCD being such a prevalent phenomenon on our silver screens, it’s easy to lose sight of it as a real condition, but think about it. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder includes individuals that have dimorphic disorder, anorexia nervosa, and even hypochondriasis (McElroy, 2015). Other conditions that may embody the compulsiveness of this disease are bulimia nervosa, binge eating, and sexual and non-sexual paraphilia (McElroy, 2015). Many infamous celebrities are diagnosed with OCD, and we will discuss a few here.

Cameron Diaz, actress and former model, came out with her illness and how it affects her on a daily basis. She suffers from mysophobia, which is having a huge fear of germs, and therefore, sanitizes her house and hands on a daily basis (Jensen, 2015). Famous soccer athlete, David Beckham, also suffers from this condition. David Beckham, in particular, gets upset if things are not aligned in a specific order, a common symptom of someone who feels strongly about symmetry and exactness (Beyond OCD, 2015). He also hates odd numbers, which plays a negative toll on his mind if they are not even. He will also go up to the point in rearranging hotel furniture to his liking (Jensen, 2015).

You may also know the infamous Kardashian family, who has made their way to fame as Hollywood socialites. The Kardashian-Jenner girls are always onto something, whether it is fashion dilemmas or baby drama. However, we rarely heard from the son of the family, Rob Kardashian. He has been far from the media as he is recovering from his sudden weight gain and depression. Rob’s behavior was documented on the popular Kardashian spin-off, Khloe and Lamar, a reality television show that included him needing his wardrobe arranged in a particular style and having to turn the corner of a street multiple times to make sure he had not run over an animal (Khloe and Lamar, 2012). It is thought that individuals like Rob Kardashian exhibit symptoms related to symmetry and exactness such as these because he or she believes that something bad may happen and this causes extreme anxiety (Beyond OCD, 2015). His diagnosis was also documented on television, and was stated to be a possible effect of his father’s death. The media has portrayed him to be lazy and childish because he has not made any changes to his lifestyle and present him to be the black sheep of the family (Fawcett, 2015). The media mocks his OCD and depression by stating he is rich and can afford medical procedures and surgeries. However, I believe that illnesses cannot be cured with money but that a change needs to be made from within, first.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is usually overlooked and perceived to be trivial or mocked, but as it is becoming glorified, more people are paying attention to severity of this disease. Because the media generally associated individuals with OCD to negative connotations, it is primarily our duty to raise awareness and clear these misunderstandings. Having OCD does not mean one is violent, lazy, or sick. It is an illness that needs to be treated with extensive care because of its effect on a large majority of people.

References

Obsessive-phobic disorders with the phenomena of mysophobia in slowly progressing schizophrenia. (2001). Retrieved October 1, 2015, from http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/11243027

Extreme Need for Symmetry or Exactness. (2015, September 30). Retrieved October 1, 2015, from http://beyondocd.org/information-for-individuals/symptoms/extreme-need-for-symmetry-or-exactness

Fawcett, K. (2015, April 16). How Mental Illness is Misrepresented in the Media. Retrieved October 1, 2015, from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/04/16/how-mental-illness-is-misrepresented-in-the-media

The Healthline Editorial Team. (2015). Diogenes Syndrome: Living in Extreme Squalor. Retrieved October 1, 2015, from http://www.healthline.com/health-blogs/healthline-connects/diogenes-syndrome-living-extreme-squalor

Jensen, K. (2013, March 7). 10 Celebrities Who Suffer From OCD. Retrieved October 1, 2015, from http://www.mandatory.com/2013/03/07/10-celebrities-who-suffer-from-ocd/

“Khloe and Lamar.” Khloe and Lamar. N.d. Television.

McElroy, S., Phillips, K., & Keck, P. (1994, October 1). Obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder. Retrieved October 1, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7961531