Cover Image: Rewire Your OCD Brain

Rewire Your OCD Brain

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Member Reviews

Rewire your OCD brain by Catherine M. Pittman and William Youngs attempts to explain how and why your brain gets stuck in obsessive thoughts.  This book delves deeply into the underpinnings of the brain and the two main areas of the brain that directly impact obsessive thinking: the amygdala and the cortex.  The authors clearly explain these parts of the brain and how they contribute to and impact obsessive thinking patterns. Not only is the anatomy discussed, but also, proven strategies to combat your OCD.  Some of these include: relaxation, exercise, sleep, distraction, and changing your thinking.  This book is an amazing resource for anyone trying to not only gain a greater understanding of the biology behind OCD, but also, those that are trying to engage in techniques to combat OCD.  Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance review copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Rewire Your OCD Brain by Catherine M. Pittman and William H. Youngs explains how your brain works and how you can take advantage of that to manage OCD.

The book focuses on the two main areas in the brain that are relevant to OCD, the cortex and amygdala. It explains the role of each, how they communicate with each other, and how that contributes to symptoms. Key points that are emphasized repeatedly are that thoughts are just thoughts, but the amygdala assumes they represent truth and generates the fight/flight/freeze response, which is misinterpreted as being a signal that there’s actual danger.

The authors also explain that the feeling like you’re going crazy sometimes actually makes a lot of sense when you know how the brain works, because the cortex (and therefore your conscious thought) isn’t in control of the vehicle when the amygdala is getting you ready to run away from the tiger that only exists in your thoughts. The authors aren’t dismissive with any of this, and reassure the reader that your amygdala is reacting the same way whether the tiger is in your thoughts or in front of you. There’s a lot of normalizing in a good way, as in, your brain does [x], so for you to experience [y] is to be expected, and it doesn’t mean you’re a freak.

The authors say that people with OCD underestimate how commonly people have random intrusive thoughts (it actually happens all the time), and a key difference is that in OCD, people get fused to their thoughts, thinking they represent absolute truth. These intrusive thoughts may come from the left hemisphere, which uses words, or the right hemisphere, which uses visuals and other sensory material.

After explaining all the background information on how things work, the book shifts into strategies for rewiring both the cortex and the amygdala. These strategies are all tied back into brain functioning, and the authors acknowledge that they may sound too simple to work, but they actually do. Exercise can help in the moment when you’re experiencing distress because the amygdala is preparing you to run away from the tiger, so exercising helps burn off some of that adrenaline rush. Slow, deep breathing recommended as the best anti-anxiety strategy there is, as it’s the most effective way to calm the amygdala. Exposure and response prevention is also discussed, and framed as the only way for the amygdala to learn what’s not dangerous.

I love the biology focus, because I’m really into that kind of thing in general. Even if it’s not generally your thing, though, knowing the underlying processes really helps to make it clear why OCD does what it does. Although it’s very brain-focused, the authors used clear, simple language without relying on a lot of jargon, and it doesn’t go into unnecessary detail. Everything is clearly related to how the brain stuff impacts the way people are feeling.

I think this book makes a great choice for anyone wanting to gain a greater understanding of the nuts and bolts behind OCD.



I received a reviewer copy from the publisher through Netgalley.
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As someone who personally struggles with OCD, this book was an informative and enjoyable read. It was full of enlightening information, focusing mainly on the functions of the cortex and amygdala and how they play roles in the expressing of OCD. I know it can be hard to find information explaining OCD and why the brain does what it does, but this book explains it well. 

I really enjoyed how this book gives practical steps to follow to beat your brain and to truly understand what you are experiencing. There's power in knowledge, and knowing why you experience OCD helps to treat it. I recommend this book to anyone struggling from OCD and for family members and friends to understand you better.
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As a sufferer of OCD, this book has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. It has helped me to understand the why of OCD and how to rewire your thought process with the overthinking and allowing certain feelings to come and go without obsessing over them, such as anxiety. It explains how the brain reacts to certain stimuli. It is just everything that I never knew I needed in my life. I am going to buy a physical copy and take notes and reread (probably multiple times).
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This is such an important and meaningful read. 

For the most part, people associate “organization” and “cleanliness” with OCD. People don’t understand how this is considered a mental illness, since almost all of what they see in people with OCD is from the outside. And I was one of those people. 

...That was until I got diagnosed with OCD a couple months ago. Although all the symptoms were there since I was seven or eight, I misunderstood this mental illness so much, I never even considered that I might have it. OCD is not what it looks like from the outside... it’s not always keeping your locker tidy and organizing your room every week. It’s like a demon in your head whispering the same stressful thoughts into your head every hour of the day, for months. A monster convincing you the thoughts are true or will become true if you don’t obey the compulsions.

And ever since I was diagnosed, I wondered how that monster formed...

This book tackled that so well. I learned so much about my brain and why at times it feels like I have absolutely no control over it. As an avid-fiction reader, I was surprised at how intrigued I was throughout this whole book. The brain is amazing, but at times, it’s evil. And how do you ever conquer over evil when you don’t know why it exists? Where it exists? How it formed? 

Just acknowledging that the brain, full of power and intelligence, actually makes mistakes, is scary. The part of the body that is in control over everything you say and do - can lie to you. It can misinterpret events, emotions, and thoughts, but since it’s your brain, you tend to think it’s more powerful and truthful than the rest of you. This can happen to anyone with anxiety. So remember that not everything you think is true. 

While I was only a few chapters into this, I wondered why I learned more from reading this book in one night than I had in the last year of life. There were multiple times that I went “Ohhh,” making sense of why so many of my thoughts and experiences with OCD happen/have happened. 

When I picked this back up again this morning, I started spewing off facts about the brain to my sister, and went on for over an hour about the cortex and amygdala, probably looking very well like a know-it-all who looks like she has no idea what she’s talking about.

I read well into the afternoon, rarely looking away from the pages. This helped me so much. Who knew an ARC of a nonfiction book could make me understand so much about everything that happens in between my ears and others with OCD? I took away so much from this... And after being in a bad place for the last couple months, I feel inspired to accept the fact that although I can’t have control over every single thought that pops into my brain, I have control over how I react and I have the control to acknowledge that at times, the brain is honestly a lying, dumb, bitch. 

And with that, I highly recommend “Rewire Your OCD Brain,” to those who struggle with this tiring mental illness. You’re not alone. And to those who aren’t directly affected by OCD, I highly encourage you to research OCD & other mental illnesses and help spread awareness. 

(Please note I decided to include my experience not to receive attention, put down those without OCD, or lessen other’s experiences with mental illnesses. Thank you to Netgalley for providing a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.)
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I struggle with pretty severe OCD. This book could be a game changer. Lots of practical and thought-provoking ways to use neuroplasticity to your advantage as an OCD sufferer.
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Rewire Your OCD Brain is a self-help book aimed at helping the reader manage their OCD symptoms. Focused heavily on the physiological side of OCD, this book includes multiple chapters explaining the functions in the brain that lead to the obsessions and compulsions of OCD. Rewire Your OCD Brain also includes tips on how to manage each part of the brain that contributes to OCD behaviors, with emphasis in cognitive behavioral therapy with exposure and response prevention.

The content provided in Rewire Your OCD Brain is incredibly useful. The chapters that go into detail on the brain functions behind OCD behaviors may seem daunting for anyone looking for a quick read on the subject. However, this is all very valuable information because when you understand the biological responses behind OCD, it really makes the disorder easier to grasp and helps treatment feel possible. Backing the treatment suggestions in CBT/ERP is great, and I appreciated that there were sections on how to treat each part of the brain. I would recommend this book for people dealing with OCD or those wanting to become more familiar with the topic, and I would suggest pairing this book along side an additional workbook-style book.

Thanks to Netgalley and New Harbinger Publications, Inc. for this ARC; this is my honest and voluntary review.
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I live with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This means, for me personally, that I constantly obsess over thoughts and think about worst-case scenarios, and perform compulsions to calm my anxiety. For example, I always worry about someone breaking into my house, so my brain tells me to turn all the door knobs eight times to reduce my fear. 

I was interested in this book because it provides valuable information on the OCD brain and outlines tools to help get OCD symptoms under control. Here is why I loved it.

The authors do an excellent job of explaining the inner workings of the OCD brain using everyday language and comparisons that are easy to digest and understand. Even when it got a bit scientific, I never became overwhelmed or confused, and I learned so much about how and why my brain functions the way it does. I also learned more about how and why some people may be predisposed to OCD.

Also, this book outlines so many helpful coping strategies and methods, and includes different types of tools for different types of people. I already practice some of these methods, but others are brand new to me!

Personally, I feel so seen and heard in this book. The authors sprinkle in little scenarios that are so incredibly relatable to someone with OCD, and reading these scenarios made me feel less alone.

Finally, it’s easy to see that the authors genuinely care about helping people who live with OCD, and that goes a long way for me as a reader and as someone who lives with this disorder.

I highly recommend this to anyone struggling with OCD or to anyone who wants to learn more about this mental health disorder.

Thank you to NetGalley and New Harbinger Publications for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review. This book publishes June 1, 2021.
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This is a very technical book about OCD and anxiety. Much of the text focused on the brain itself from a biological standpoint... while some may find it helpful and interesting, it won’t appeal to everyone, especially since you have to get through more than half the book before getting to practical behavioral information. Thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for the complimentary digital review copy of this title.
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As a clinician, I am always looking for resources to use with clients and to expand my knowledge base. Rewire Your OCD Brain offered concrete strategies to assist clients dealing with OCD that are rooted in evidence. Overall this is a helpful resource geared towards clients that finds its base in cognitive behavioral strategies.
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This book wasn't quite what I expected. There are a lot of technical terms, which could turn off or even confuse the average reader. It was heavily focused on the biological side of OCD, which could be of interest to some people.
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I requested this book because I needed some "clasic and easy" talk about OCD but what I found is a lot of medical words I didn't understand.

Thank you NetGalley and the authors for providing me this e-copy.
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I didn't finish this book. I felt as though it focused too much on the biological side of OCD rather than the emotional side. It would definitely be a very interesting to somebody who is into that side of things, but it just wasn't what I was looking for. However, I am grateful to to NetGalley and the publisher for making this advanced copy available.
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A detailed guide to the causes of OCD which can be summarised as anxiety, with compulsions that ease the anxiety, but need to be repeated, so they cause a problem. The book shows that the brain can be rewired, using a recent concept of neuroplasticity. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for giving me an advance copy of this book , I really enjoyed it, and it is good that the authors gave such a detailed explanation of this exciting concept that the OCD brain can be rewired.
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