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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Educate Yourself

When I found out that I was diagnosed with OCD and Clinical Depression--I just naturally wanted to learn more about everything--the diagnoses themselves, the medications possibly used to treat them, etc.  I was like a dog looking for a juicy bone.  At the time, I saved all the papers I received in counseling sessions about various topics.  I took notes when I was up to doing so.  That was how I got my first web site going, 'There Is OCD Hope'.  Much of the information came from those papers, along with my testimonies.

Education can empower yourself to know more about what's going on with your body.  I would think that like most patients of other illnesses or diseases, or at least their family members--would start researching.  In my mind it's part of the responsibility of mental health.  When you educate yourself about mental disorders--then you have a greater chance of knowing what questions to ask of your doctor/psychiatrist, understand more what is being said about what is going on with your body than just being told about it.

Many years ago, I learned about OCD after being diagnosed--that there are several different forms of OCD than can manifest itself.  The obsessive part is the mental component--the thinking problem in OCD; the compulsive is the behavior(s) associated with the mental.  Briefly, the various OCD symptoms are numbers obsession--counting; doing a behavior a certain number of times; then there is the germ phobia obsession to the point of a constant paranoia that you will contract some awful disease if you touch certain things.  This can also play a role in the cleaning obsession--you over-clean your house, for example.  You feel the need to wash your face several times to get it clean, for another example.  

One of the two symptoms I knew the least about was 1) scrupulosity-which is placing one's self into a rigorous strict, legalistic role about what God thinks of you, what He approves of to the highest and strictest works-based level of religion.  It's an endless barage of what is right and what is wrong in your mind.  I met people through my web site years ago that had this symptom.  They were miserable, constantly needing reassurance of their salvation.  As a Christian, I cannot imagine living with that, but it can be treated; 2) The last symptom to briefly touch on are the unsolicited thoughts to harm another, sometimes it's in a specific way.  For example, harming someone using a knife rather than perhaps using another weapon or method to harm someone.  This can be terrifying, to say the very least, to the person who is plagued by such thoughts--and a torture all its own.

These can all be treated by a combination of counseling (Christian, preferably) and medication is usually required to control the thoughts.  And CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a very helpful form of treatment for those with a compulsive obsession or numbers obsession to teach the patient tools to lessen the anxiety of the thoughts/behaviors.

I also learned about different medications and what SSRI's are:  Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors.  These are what a lot of the anti-depressants are categorized as for inhibiting the loss of serotonin in the brain so the patient does not lose their normal serotonin levels (the chemical imbalance) which leads to depression.  There are many psychotropic medications used for many different things.  So, if you are a mental disorder sufferer then get out there or get online to education yourself.  Now, the danger for some certain mental disorders and researching online is scaring yourself half to death for reading stuff you think you have.  There's a lot of scary stuff on the Internet that people use to self-diagnose themselves.  Do not get caught up in that.  And if you do research something in particular that brings on anxiety, then ask your psychiatrist instead.  He or she can help filter the stuff not relevant to you rather than weeding through too much anxiety-ridden details.