When I leave for work in the morning, I go through my precommute checklist. Train pass, check. Wallet, check. Coffee mug, check. Smart phone, check. Keys to the house, check. Only when I’m sure that I have everything I need do I open the door and head outside.
Sometimes I worry that this morning routine is becoming too much of a ritual. Is it possible that I have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD for short)?
Probably not. The fact that I am able to get out the door every morning means that my daily ritual isn’t interfering with my ability to function, says Dr. Jeff Szymanski, a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School.
You have OCD when obsessions and compulsive behavior Read more »
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life…
…I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
—Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
This paragraph hit me between the eyes. I’ve now read it about ten times in the past 24 hours. Ms Lamott was talking about the first draft of a manuscript. Just get it down on paper, willy-nilly, free lance, she said. Let loose and enjoy yourself she goes on to advise.
But these words spoke to me about so many other things in life. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*
A paper published in the February issue of Health Affairs – discussed at length in an article in the New York Times – contains the sort of blunt, plain-spoken language you seldom read in academic journals. The authors, who include some of the most prominent neuroscientists and ethicists in the world, warn that manufacturers are misusing the FDA’s humanitarian device exemption to promote deep brain stimulation as a “treatment” for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
In fact, they make clear that deep brain stimulation is very much an experimental procedure. Research is still at an early stage, and the risks to patients are not well defined. When suffering is severe and no other treatment has provided relief, there is value in making available an intervention like deep brain stimulation. But misleading or biased information, no matter where it comes from, certainly undermines patients’ ability to calculate benefits and risks.
To enable deep brain stimulation, a surgeon must first implant electrodes in the brain and connect them to a pair of small electrical generators underneath the collarbone. Deep brain stimulation uses electricity to affect how brain signals are transmitted in particular areas of the brain. The image to the left, from the National Institute of Mental Health, shows how deep brain stimulation depends on the implantation of pulse generators below the collarbone and electrodes in the brain.
Disorders like depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and bipolar disorder all have warning signs. If you are concerned about these signs in yourself or others, talk to a trusted adult and get help!
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