Every week I see students, professors and other professionals with panic disorder, OCD, eating disorders, social anxiety disorder among others. Many have gone untreated and undiagnosed because of embarrassment and the long held perception that little can be done about the symptoms of OCD. As a primary care Doctor it brings me great sadness that some don't come to seek help and suffer silently. This is why I am so glad to see, finally, an open look at some of the disorders many of our DS members and my patients privately struggle with. The A & E series, "Obsessed," takes a real life look at those suffering with OCD and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders (social anxiety disorder, eating disorders, trichotillomania, etc) and follows them through their struggles and treatment. What I hope this series accomplishes is letting folks know they are not alone; reach out to others who suffer the same symptoms and come get help. The mean age of onset for OCD is 21 years, right when you have just "separated" from your parents, are too old for your pediatrician and don't have your own doctor to go to.... and you feel so alone.
Why should we care so much? OCD and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders are thought to affect 10 percent of patients in a primary care setting. Quality of life is considerably decreased, as you will see in this series, due to the shame, distress, and time consumed in carrying out compulsive behaviors. Those on Dailystrength.org know there is significant interference in family relationships, friendships, and academic and work achievement. The untapped potential in those with social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and other anxiety disorders is astonishing but the devastating consequences of OCD are best summed up by a study which found that 13 percent of patients had attempted suicide secondary to OCD symptoms.
What are the treatment options? Cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications are used for the treatment and what I love about A & E's "Obsessed" is that you will get to SEE what that means, what this targeted therapy is like, and does it work for these folks. Reading about the treatments is one thing but seeing them is another.
The series premiers on Memorial Day so for those of you in our various communities: OCD, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, eating disorders, food addiction and trichotillomania please jump in and let me know your thoughts.