Cover Image: Everything You Need to Know About OCD

Everything You Need to Know About OCD

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Member Reviews

This book is a valuabe resource for those wishing to deepen their knowledge of OCD. I and one of my children suffer from OCD, and while I have lived with it all my life that doesnt mean that I understand all the manifestations of it. The information in this book has absolutely helped me to understand both myself and my child better,
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This book shares fairly comprehensive information about OCD, explaining the nature of the disorder, multiple possible causes, different sub-types, and ways to overcome it through exposure therapy, CBT, and lifestyle changes. The many case studies shared throughout are brief, represent a wide range of disorder sub-types, and are diverse in race, culture, and religion.

I particularly appreciated the author's clear explanation that even though OCD can seize upon religious themes, religious beliefs do not cause the disorder, and that other members of the same religion can clearly see that the OCD patient is taking things to an unhealthy extreme. The author encourages therapists to work with clergy members when necessary, to better understand a patient's beliefs and determine what kind of exposure therapies would be appropriate.

The author is an OCD expert, and her experience working with hospitalized OCD patients will make this book especially helpful for people who have such severe problems that they are not able to function normally in everyday life. However, in addition to addressing very severe forms of the disorder, she also includes information and examples that will help people with milder cases. She walks this balance well, helping people who are severely ill without making it likely that someone else would discount real symptoms just because they aren't as bad in comparison.

I had a few minor critiques as I read the book, but the only major one is that I would have appreciated a more detailed run-down of different subtypes. This author covers many different types of OCD, but because she lumps together multiple different thought-focused obsessional themes, she doesn't address them individually to the level that I would have liked.

Another important thing to mention is that because the author is from the UK, her resource lists are predominately focused on services that are available to people in the UK. She sometimes mentions a corresponding United States organization, but American readers will want to pursue resource lists elsewhere that are relevant to them.
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Everything You Need to Know About OCD by Dr. Lynne M. Drummond with Laura J. Edwards is, as the title suggests, a comprehensive book covering OCD and its treatment. The lead author clearly has considerable clinical expertise working with clients with hard-to-treat OCD.

The book looks at the processes involved in OCD, including distressing thoughts increasing when one tries to suppress them, and thought-action fusion (the belief that having a thought is the moral equivalent to performing the act that the thought relates to). It covers different types of OCD as well as common co-occurring conditions. Autism spectrum disorder is one of the co-occurring conditions mentioned, and the author explains how to differentiate between autistic rituals and OCD rituals.

There's a chapter devoted to medication treatments, side effects, and commonly asked questions about med use. I found it interesting that the author chose to use the term "dopamine blockers" rather than "antipsychotics." Dopamine blocker is actually a more accurate term than antipsychotic, but the choice definitely seemed like an acknowledgement of the associated stigma. Three's also a chapter on emerging research that looks at the role of treatments like neurosurgery (a far cry from the icepick lobotomies performed back in the day) and deep brain stimulation (which is also used for depression)

The book gives a lot of attention to exposure and response prevention (ERP). The author recommends constructing a hierarchy for exposures, but not for compulsions. She writes, “It can often be tempting to gradually reduce compulsions or even place these on a hierarchy. In reality, this rarely works because it is extremely difficult to cut down on such behaviours. It is much better and easier in the long term to stop the compulsive behaviours entirely.” For exposures to be most effective, the author recommends doing them three times a day and for long enough each time for the anxiety level to drop by half, which she says initially might take a couple of hours. There’s definitely no promising an easy fix here.

A lot of the example exposures the book offered are things that are more extreme than what a “normal” person would typically do. The author explained this in terms of a treatment pendulum. If OCD is at one end and extreme risk-taking is at the other, exposures should swing past what's "normal" into risk-taking territory to make people less likely to return to the slippery slope back to OCD.

In the chapter for family and caregivers, the book emphasizes the importance of not going along with OCD compulsions and reassurance-seeking. The author recommends calling the police if not going along with the OCD results in threats or violence. The fact that this was mentioned a few times hints at how profoundly unwell her patients are.

There are lots of case examples throughout the book, and many of these involve patients who were extremely debilitated by their illness. Many of these examples include ERP programs, and there are a number of these for each different OCD theme (e.g. contamination, symmetry, taboos like pedophilia, and fear of harm to self/others through either thoughts/actions or failure to act).

The author explains that the term pure-O OCD that’s sometimes used is actually inaccurate, as obsessive rumination has two parts: the distressing thoughts (obsessions) and mental compulsions to ward off harm from distressing thoughts, reduce distress, or put things right. She writes about how to differentiate these two parts and offers strategies to overcome the fact that mental compulsions can occur involuntarily even if one tries not to do them.

The author is based in the UK, so some of the discussion about treatment availability won’t be relevant to readers outside of the UK, but I don’t think that detracts from its suitability for an international reader base.

This book isn’t a light read. The language used isn’t difficult, it’s laid out well, and there are concise point-form summaries at the end of each chapter, but it’s packed with facts. There are lots of details, but they’re relevant rather than extraneous. The book would be a great choice if you’re wanting to learn a lot about OCD or if you’re looking for information related to difficult-to-treat OCD. For people whose OCD is on the milder side and isn’t causing significant disruption in their lives, some of the other books on OCD that I’ve reviewed would probably make a better starting point, but if you’re looking for a really comprehensive resource, this is it.

I received a reviewer copy from the publisher through Netgalley.
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As an OCD sufferer, I found this book to be extremely helpful and informative. It explains everything, without being too heavy with jargon, and without being patronising. It explains OCD, and the many different forms it can take, explores how and why the illness may have started, and discusses how to get better from it. It explains Exposure Therapy and talks you through what that would look like, and how it would work, and also discusses various medications which may be suitable. This book is detailed enough to use as a guide the help yourself through OCD, or you can use it to find and work with a therapist. Not an easy read, as it can be a bit of a trigger, but it does show that there can be light at the end of the tunnel. Would definitely recommend.

Thank you to Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press and Netgalley for an eARC of this book to read and review.
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This is an informative book for those with OCD (or those who have loved ones or friends with OCD). Numerous strategies are included which would be easy to implement. It appears that the book is well-researched, and it's written in a way that the average reader can understand it.
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Everything You Need to Know About OCD by author Dr. Lynne M. Drummond with Laura J. Edwards is an eye opening book on OCD. I found it packed full of information and ideas for those dealing with OCD or a loved one that is. 
This is a great resource to help someone improve their mental health, resiliency, and live a more full and happy life. I found a multitude of strategies, advice, and easy to implement ideas. I highly recommend this well researched, well organized, and well written book to anyone with questions or issues about OCD. It gets a 5 star rating from me. A copy was received from NetGalley, but these are my honest words.
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This is a must-have resource to help one improve their mental health, resiliency, and live a more full and happy life. It is full of great strategies, advice, and easy to implement ideas. This is one I'll return to again and again. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.
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