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Topic: Effective OCD treatment

15 posts, 0 answered
  1. Flummoxed
    Flummoxed avatar
    5 posts
    12 May 2021

    Hi, I'm a parent of a teen who (we think - not sure what has been officially diagnosed) has high-functioning autism spectrum, anxiety and, now, OCD. Washing hands to the point of skin irritation. I won't list other signs out of respect for her privacy but they are clear.

    We aren't coping well, which prompts this post, but the purpose of the post is to ask about a course of action. I don't think this is a problem that can be talked out of, either with carers or with a professional. Everything I read suggests CBT or drugs are the only proven interventions for OCD. I am not cool with drugs so I think she needs CBT.

    She has had a couple of telesessions with a psychologist in response to the OCD (as well as other sessions years ago, all unhelpful) but so far it's all been talk therapy. Which feels like a waste of time to me (in fact I worry it makes matters worse). There are more sessions scheduled.

    Should I ring the pysch and ask her to outline her intended approach? Or am I wrong in my thoughts above?

    (Admin, wasn't sure whether to put this here or in the carer's forum - up to you.)

  2. Flummoxed
    Flummoxed avatar
    5 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Flummoxed
    PS I don't mean to be disrespecting talk therapy or to be medicalising things. This is why I avoided the D word when I spoke of autism spectrum. I think I'm on the spectrum myself and I also have manageable occupational PTS (no D). But I feel there is a point where it becomes harmful and unmanageable enough that a D is warranted, and at about the same point, talk therapy doesn't cut it.
  3. CheeseDingo
    CheeseDingo avatar
    13 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Flummoxed

    What has your daughter said about her treatment?

    If she has a lot of these diagnoses, I could only assume that It will take many sessions for her to become comfortable with a medical professional to open up and reflect on her own behavior, goals, world view, strengths, triggers and progress. These are also problems that will persist throughout life so I would work hard on making her comfortable to use mental health facilities so she can utilise them in her adult life if she needs assistance.

    Let the trained professionals make a treatment plan for her and seek second or third opinions if you have genuine doubts.


  4. Flummoxed
    Flummoxed avatar
    5 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to CheeseDingo
    This is me seeking a second, third, fourth, I have lost count, opinion. Although, since the OCD, just a second opinion. I feel like everyone she has spoken to has just been an Agony Aunt, which is really helpful and (genuinely) beautiful for some things, but doesn't work for others.
  5. CheeseDingo
    CheeseDingo avatar
    13 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Flummoxed
    I've never heard the term Agony Aunt before. Cambridge dictionary states it as "a person, usually a woman, who gives advice to people with personal problems, especially in a regular magazine or newspaper article"

    What is it that these Agony Aunts aren't providing?
  6. missep123
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    missep123 avatar
    845 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Flummoxed

    Hi Flummoxed,

    I can see how much you care for your child which is wonderful to see as I can tell that you truly want the best for them.

    With regards to asking the professional for the treatment outline, I don't think there is anything wrong from that personally (I studied 5 years of psychology).

    May I ask, is this psychologist an expert in OCD?

    From my experience and from others in the field, it can take many sessions with a client to build rapport for the relationship and effects of treatment to be as effective as possible. Has your child mentioned feeling comfortable and supported by this new psychologist? It is a possibility that they may be focusing on this first.

    Please keep us updated!

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Flummoxed
    Flummoxed avatar
    5 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to missep123

    Thanks for engaging Missep123.

    Re: "is this psychologist an expert in OCD?" I don't know. It's a random hookup based on GP referral and availability. As have been the ones in years gone by that achieved nothing.

    But, yes, talking with her, she does seem to be establishing a good rapport with this psych. Especially compared to others.

    Still my worry is, 12 weeks of her having an outside shoulder to cry on will achieve nothing, because this is not being a bit upset, this is being ... there aren't many words without judgemental baggage I try to avoid ... but this is being disturbed. It needs more attention and skill than "oh and how does that make you feel".

  8. Petal22
    Community Champion
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    Petal22 avatar
    1359 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Flummoxed

    Hi Flummoxed,

    Sorry your daughter is going through this.....

    I once had severe OCD....... I have now made a full recovery....

    My recovery started from seeing my gp...... I was put on an antidepressant for my anxiety and I also did a mental health plan with my gp.......

    I was referred to a clinical phycologist who gave me strategies for my anxiety.... I also saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with OCD.... this then led me to a Clinic that specialised in OCD..... I did group therapy at this clinic for 8 weeks..... this is we’re I learned to master my OCD......

    never loose hope, we can learn to overcome this condition..

    im here if you have any questions... 😊

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Petal22
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    Petal22 avatar
    1359 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Flummoxed

    I think OCD is a specialised field.... you need a professional that specialises in OCD...my therapy was an “ intervention into the OCD” it targets the OCD and the behaviours that keep us locked in the OCD Cycle....

    we can learn what our behaviours are and then work on disengaging in these behaviours... this then allows us to break free of the vicious OCD cycle......

    1 person found this helpful
  10. Flummoxed
    Flummoxed avatar
    5 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Petal22

    Thank you Petal22.

    How did you find the medication? Was it short term or long term? I have a few qualms about it, but having first hand experience you are much better placed to judge, so I would love to hear your perspective.

    It sounds like it was a struggle for you to find effective support. I'm glad to hear you got it in the end.

  11. geoff
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15314 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Flummoxed

    Hello Flummoxed, sometimes people with autism may also have OCD in some respects, although I'm not a doctor, but some obsessions and compulsions may overlap, such as continually washing her hands, however, if parents don't have OCD then it's so frustrating to try and understand why a person has to carry out these continual reactions because neither parent has it, then why should one of their children develop it, so you feel confused, exhausted and have no answers or any solutions on how she can stop it, especially when you have family/friends around, then how can you explain this to them, it isn't easy, but it's nobody's fault.

    Some people can overcome this illness while others either need help to control it, lower its impact or learn how to hide it from other people seeing, but everyone is different.

    I've been taking medication for OCD and depression for a long time and certainly, my doctor would not discontinue it, nor would I ever want to, but what it does is make me feel more stable, although I still have obsessions/compulsions but I hide everything I do so nobody else can see.

    I realise this may not be the case for your daughter but a psychologist who deals with OCD will be able to help her and hopefully ease your concerns.

    Please ask any questions you want an answer to.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

  12. Boudica
    Boudica avatar
    195 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Flummoxed

    Hello,

    Welcome to the forum, I hope you find what you are looking for here.

    I have a son with autism spectrum disorder (verbal, no intellectual disability), who also has OCD behaviours. In the past these have manifested in an eating disorder (now under control) and obsessions with germs. He is not able to cope with his possessions getting normal signs of wear and tear, so he must pad every item to prevent it making contact with the table or other items etc.

    However he is much better than two years ago. He is at a level now that it can be managed so that he can function in every day life, though it is still there. His treatment includes medication, and I believe that is critical, as it reduces his anxiety to a level that makes him more receptive to the other intervention, which is working with a clinical psychologist. The clinical psychologist he works with was chosen as he specialises with children on the spectrum (and has a son of his own with autism), but luckily turned out to have experience with eating disorders. Eating disorders are common with people with ASD or OCD.

    I used to be anti-medication, but I really changed my view. It does not have to be the long-term solution but can be used to help the person get to a place where they can engage better with therapy that can teach self regulating strategies for the long-term. I am not sure that my son will ever be able to self-regulate his OCD behaviours as he is not yet able to self-regulate any emotional stuff (he is 12 but functional age <6), but time will tell.

    Best of luck with your journey.

  13. sagethefairy
    sagethefairy avatar
    2 posts
    13 May 2021 in reply to Flummoxed
    Hey Flummoxed! I'm a teen with OCD whos on the spectrum too and have had similar issues as her! To be quite honest, the things I found most helpful were more towards the natural therapy side of things, rather than the medical. I found art therapy - Particularly working with clay and more tactile mediums super helpful - even tough I usually hated getting my hands dirty. I still used antidepressants to help be through, so at the end of the day i think these would be beneficial to try for a short time to help your daughter mange her compulsions and stuff for the time being as I know they can be quite overwhelming. Best of luck!!
  14. Gambit87
    Gambit87 avatar
    703 posts
    14 May 2021

    Hi Flummoxed,

    I have OCD, I have to check things are off, locked, closed and I get terrible intrusive thoughts and negative rumination.

    I don't take medication personally, im VERY apprehensive about it.

    Ive seen a psychologist once a month for about a year and a half and its been extremely helpful for me. Ive learnt that depression and anxiety fuels my OCD and by talking it all out with my psychologist has helped me break the worst through of it. I have discovered the less anxious I am, the less control OCD has over me. There are even days the ocd and intrusive thoughts are nothing but white noise in the back of my mind.

    Breaking the OCD hold is tough work, a psychologist can talk you though whats happening and thought processes and stuff like that - but its up to you to put it into action.

    Another thing that has helped me - is talking about it. Especially to my girlfriend. It eases the stress of a compulsion i think. I'll check something 10 times over and my girlfriend will watch and giggle a bit - then I will laugh and theres an instant relief and the anxiety goes away.

    I hope this helps,

    were here for you!

  15. missep123
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    missep123 avatar
    845 posts
    18 May 2021 in reply to Flummoxed

    Hi Flummoxed!

    I hear you!

    It's great to hear that your child is developing rapport with their psychologist but I completely understand your concerns too. It might be worth asking the psychologist if they have a plan?

    Otherwise some of the others have mentioned that OCD is a specialised field and perhaps if it doesn't work out with this one that there is the possibility to see a clinical psychologist who specialises specifically in this field.

    We are definitely here for you! I hope that you feel supported as well!

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