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Oprah is having a show about treating OCD. I taped it so I'll watch it later and if I learn anything useful ,I'll come back.

It looks a little scary though- they show what they call OCD "camp", with intensive treatment and exposure.

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OMG is right.

I just finished watching it and I cried through the whole thing. I could feel the people's fear.

of course like any tv coverage of stuff like this, by the end of the show there's the guy rubbing his hands in the dirt, the woman who cried with a revelation of her past and on.

I was trying to imagine what they'd make me do. drive at 100mph on the highway? or make me go on a roller coaster? make me listen to the phone ring forever until I didn't think it was going to be a call that someone died?

my heart is racing just thinking about it.

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I watched the show, and commented on the website. I knew some of the stuff they'd be doing in this kind of therapy, but I don't care if a person has OCD or not--no one should be licking their hands after rubbing them on a toilet seat or in a dumpster (especially one where you can see someone's vomited)!!! That is not only gross, it's an endangerment to your health!

I also had a problem with them using words like "ground breaking" and "cutting-edge" to describe exposure and response prevention, or ERP. That therapy has been around for a long time, and is no longer ground breaking and cutting-edge.

One idiot on the Oprah boards called the OCD victims "whacko" (I think that was his spelling) and said he didn't understand why they can't rationalize themselves out of it. He said he thinks it's caused by being babied when they were young and they just need to "get over it." Dumbass!!!

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omg freedom- what a jerk. i thought about looking on her website for more info but i was too upset -maybe today.

its funny i thought the same thing you did and as we were watching i told hubby there is absolutly nothing groundbreaking about exposure therapy.

it was the technique of choice when i first started learning about this stuff, and that was over 20 years ago!!

this is supposed to be helpful for what they used to refer to as "simple phobia"- though there's obviously nothing simple about it. ( i think it meant a discreet fear in the absence of other complicating things- i'd guess things like ptsd and major depression)

the problem with exposure therapy for some is that it can trigger symptoms from other issues.

i must say i do admire the courage these people had- i think my pure terror about certain things would keep me from this kind of treatment.

I also was sorry they didn't go into more detail about the poisoned food and the death obsessions, as these are closer to what i experience. like how can you get someone to stop thinking things when there isn't a concrete way of countering the thoughts?

also- its complicated when the fear has a basis in reality. when every restaurant menu warns about undercooked food- how can you tell someone that the fear isn't rational??

i wonder if anyone here has personal experience with exposure therapy ( yes and i know he said it has to say something about response prevention too- but yeah- isn't that the whole idea??!!)

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Sorry I didn't post sooner...my OCD keeps me off the computer a lot, along with things I have to do in the day, in general. This OCD is killing me. Truly. ;)

My panic disorder makes using ERP far more difficult than just the OCD itself. I feel like there's no help for me.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have suffered from severe OCD all my life. So I've had a lot of experience with pretty much anything and everything OCD-related- every weird obsession, every exhausting compulsion, every treatment under the sun.

...and I can personally say that I find exposure-response prevention, when it is even available (for some reason, this form of therapy is almost impossibly hard to find and access in most places), vastly overrated.

IMO, it is little more than a glorified form of flooding, wrapped up in all kinds of newfangled clinicalese theorybabble. When I did it, some of the things the therapist tried to get me to do were medically dangerous (touch the outside of a sharps container without a glove, touch a toilet, tape-record things I couldn't handle saying, deliberately trigger off obsession spikes scary enough to compromise my sanity), and completely humiliating, too. All it did was condition me to fear the therapy sessions. I never got much better; and when my intensive CBT/ERP program ran its course, I instantly relapsed until they had me back on my meds again.

I am not trying to put other OCD patients off this form of therapy if they find it truly helpful. All I'm saying is that I sure didn't, and that I question certain forms of psychotherapy...and that "exposure-response prevention" is one of the ones I question the most. At my most cynical, I think Penn & Teller would have had a field day with some of the zanier sessions my former ERP therapist tried to put me through. I often wonder how this form of therapy ever got to be the official gold standard for OCD therapy. I wonder that a lot.

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I can't say what works and doesn't for other people, but I question it for myself, as well. I haven't had any real experience with it, except what I've tried to do myself; in other words, I've never been guided by a professional, because ERP experts aren't available in my area. But I know that the anxiety and thoughts get so bad when I expose myself, and if I do anything too hard for me, the thoughts don't go away, and they get worse.

I posted on the Oprah boards, but I included a link in my last post, forgetting they don't allow that (I've been on so many boards, it's hard to keep track of the rules of each), and it was a long post, so I'm not re-posting. Too much trouble, and I spend too much time online when I'm on here (which is fairly rare now, maybe once a week, thanks to my OCD). Anyway, a person who had been on the show told me, essentially, that if I really wanted help, I wouldn't let my OCD stop me, and even though I'm not on a helpful level of medication (and the right med may not have been found yet; I'm currently trying Lexapro) and I'd get on a bus or whatever (public transportation is a real problem for me OCD-wise, but also, I used to ride the bus and had so many problems--sexual and religious harassment, missed stops, followed home by a freak, had the bus driver shut the door ON me, sat in baby pee, people vomited on the bus, etc.) and go get ERP help. He even told me I could go see the OCD doctor that was on the show (Dr. Grayson), who made people touch a dumpster and lick their hands! I didn't mention it because I forgot, but there is no public transportation in my area. I mean, there's a taxi, but I sure as hell can't afford that.

Even Dr. Grayson or Dr. Oz (I forget which), as well as the pdoc who wrote The OCD Workbook, Second Edition (or it's called something like that), whose name I forget at the moment, said some people need to be on a helpful level of meds before ERP can help them. Oh! And another doctor said it, too, on a Discovery Channel (or maybe the Discovery Health Channel, more likely) documentary on OCD not long ago.

I really do want help, and I don't appreciate being told that I don't want it, because I'm scared of the consequences of failure. I hate my life, and a person may think I'm not facing my fears or whatever, but don't tell me I don't want help.

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