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What is OCD?

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OCD is a malevolent advisor that wants to deceive us about the fundamental nature of the world. It wants us to believe that the world shouldn’t have any sharp edges and that our experience should be as smooth and snag-free as possible. If snags are apparent, it tells us that we should exchange our current experience for one that is more perfect. Although nice in theory, embracing such a philosophy creates an impossible situation. After all, there is no snag-free world to inhabit. Even the best world is fundamentally flawed. The more we become preoccupied by the pursuit of perfection, the more hyperaware we become of life’s flaws. As Dr. Jon Grayson writes, as soon as we begin comparing anything real to the ideal, the real becomes intolerably cheapened in the comparison. Reality, no matter how good, can never live up...

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Scary Thoughts as Costumes: The Illusion of Danger

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It’s nearly Halloween, and kids around the country are digging through dusty closets and plundering the aisles of local Halloween shops in search of the perfect costume. Halloween is the one night of the year when we give ourselves permission to be silly, scary, or fantastical. We can act a little weird, and nobody will disapprove. On Halloween, it’s normal to see the ghastly holding hands with the divine; fairy princesses walk amongst zombies, lions, and super heroes. There is something thrilling about handing over the reins to your imagination…even if it’s only for a single night. But what would happen if the masks got stuck? What if every goblin remained a goblin and every ghost remained a ghost? The children underneath the make-up would still be our children, but their appearance would remain altered. How would we feel...

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OCD Awareness Week

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The International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) is sponsoring OCD Awareness Week, which means that organizations around the world are hosting special OCD-related events this week. South Floridians, we invite you to join us for our monthly support group meeting tonight (10/9/12) at 6:30pm in our Palm Beach Gardens, Florida office. You might also want to check out some of the amazing OCD Awareness Week events that are hosted online. Please note that the list below is just a sampling of all the incredible events that are going on this week. Feel free to cross-post to Facebook, Twitter, or your personal blog to help spread the word. Happy OCD Awareness Week 2012! List of OCD Awareness Week Events http://www.ocfoundation.org/awarenessweek 2012 Dare to Believe Contest Winners – Listen, read, and watch incredible projects created by talented individuals to promote OCD awareness. http://ocfoundation.org/anighttobelieve/ OCD Film Festival...

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Vomit Phobia – Fear of Vomiting (Emetophobia)

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Flu season will be quickly upon us and with it comes an unfortunate increase in the likelihood of experiencing fevers, coughs, runny noses, vomiting, and the like. Although no one enjoys being sick, this time of year poses particular challenges for individuals suffering from “vomit phobia”, or emetophobia, the fear of throwing up. The fear of vomiting can affect individuals of all ages. It sometimes emerges in childhood and, if untreated, may follow a relatively chronic course. However, it can also develop well into adulthood, sometimes taking root after a negative health experience (e.g., after getting food poisoning or after experiencing an episode of severe or uncontrolled vomiting). Vomit Phobia in Children and Teens Consequences associated with the fear of throwing up can be extreme. In children, vomit phobia can lead to school refusal and avoidance. Academic performance may...

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Postpartum OCD – Fear of Harming Your Baby

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Parents brace themselves for many changes when a new baby comes home. As new routines replace old, life quickly becomes a confusing jumble of cherished memories, bottles, and dirty diapers. Parenting can be joyful, but it can also be terrifying. Parenting comes with many important responsibilities, and it can be intimidating–if not downright frightening–to be responsible for protecting and caring for a vulnerable new life. What is Postpartum OCD (ppOCD)? For some parents (mothers and fathers alike), new parenthood may spark postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a surprisingly common anxiety disorder that is associated with violent and disturbing thoughts, images, or urges (Fairbrother & Abramowitz, 2007). Symptoms may begin suddenly after the new baby arrives home, or pre-existing OCD symptoms may be exacerbated by new parental responsibilities. Postpartum OCD symptoms can involve virtually any type of OCD symptom, but harm obsessions...

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