Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: It’s More than Just Lining the Edges Up

Have you ever heard someone say “I’m a bit OCD” when referring to the cleanliness of their house? Or when they are lining the things on their work desk up in a particular way? Well, chances are they’re actually not. First of all, because Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder which means you can’t be “just a little bit” of it, and secondly because OCD is so much more than this. Chances are if you were experiencing OCD you would certainly know it!

What is OCD?

OCD is an anxiety disorder where a person experiences obsessive, anxious thoughts and compulsions. These thoughts are repetitive and very difficult to get rid of and this leads to the compulsion which is the desire to engage in certain behaviors to address these thoughts. For example, if we’ve left the house in a hurry we may worry that we left the front door unlocked. We might even go back to check it and generally, after this, we feel better. With OCD though someone may have to check the front door 30 times before they go to work just to make sure in their mind that it is truly locked and they might do this every morning. Often people with OCD will develop daily routines like this. Considering how many things the average person can worry about in a day you can see how OCD could really disrupt your life. According to John M. Grohol, Psy.D. “some people who have had OCD for a long time may stop resisting their compulsive drives because they feel it’s just easier to give in to them.”

If people who are experiencing OCD are unable to carry out these compulsions (or checking behaviors)they can have a horrible feeling that something awful will happen to them or someone they love. They also often experience shame around these checking behaviors and as a result, try to do them secretly which can lead to later diagnosis, isolation and even depression.…

7 Statements To Avoid When Talking With A Depressed And Anxious Person



Words matter, especially when it comes to talking to someone with depression and anxiety. If you are a true friend or a member of the family, your words must be as helpful and supportive as they can.


Depression is a difficult condition that will require cooperation and support of family and friends. It is a mental illness that makes it harder for the patient to take action towards the road to getting better. Anxiety is also a mental health issue that is a challenge to handle. This is why it is important for the people around the depressed and anxious person to be careful of what they say. You have to avoid some statements that can worsen the situation. As what Ilene S. Cohen, PhD used to say “it’s hard to be yourself when you’re constantly worried about how other people will perceive what you have to say and do.”


Get over it!


Getting over a physical or mental health disorder is just plain implausible. No one can tell you to get over your heart disease or diabetes, right? This is the same when it comes to depression and anxiety. “The presence of anxiety, of a depressive mood or of a conflict within the mind, does not stamp any individual as having a psychological problem because, as a matter of fact, these qualities are indigenous to the species,” says Charles Goodstein, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at NYU Medical Center in New York City.


This statement might be the worst you can say to someone with mental health disorders. It wasn’t the choice of the patient to have depression and anxiety in the first place. What you can do instead is to ask “What can I do for you?” and be willing to help.


A lot of people have it worse than you.


People with depression and anxiety probably know this already and feel guilty about it. You don’t need to make them feel worse and caption their nightmare. Understand that every person has different levels of resilience in problems. If the person feels truly down, be explicit in saying that you care for him or her and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of feeling what he or she feels.


Stop it!



You can’t tell a person to stop feeling what and how they feel. It doesn’t work that way, especially when it comes to people with depression and anxiety. While they may be aware of what they must do, most of the time, they can’t really act on it. What can help is providing them a logical reason that can hopefully open their eyes and make things clearer. Suggest means or methods of treatment while providing support and understanding.


You’re crazy!


This is the statement that the American Psychiatric Association claims to be a derogatory language. This goes along with the words:


  • Psycho
  • Suffering
  • Victim


APA also believes that it is better to say that “a person has depression” rather than saying “that person is depressed”. The former shows that depression is only an aspect of the person’s life, while the latter seems to describe the person.


Just do something about it!



What makes depression and anxiety more difficult is that the disorders can immobilize a person. The actions of a person with depression and anxiety are usually the result of their uncontrollable feelings. Saying this statement is entirely vague. Instead, you can say, “Let’s talk to somebody who knows what to do if you are clueless on what you can do.” Remember, “it’s OK to make mistakes simply because it is impossible for humans not to make mistakes and experience some regret,” says Suma Chand, MPhil, PhD.


You don’t need medication; you can pull through this.


Only say this if you are a mental health professional. While there are indeed other treatments that work for depression and anxiety, including exercise and psychotherapy, there are cases when medication is necessary and considered “first aid”. Antidepressants can regulate hormonal imbalance that causes depression and anxiety. It will be needed for extreme situations.


Everything will be OK.


Yes, you believe that everything will be okay, but someone with depression and anxiety is vague in that aspect. Help him or her to stay positive and be encouraging by taking action. You can suggest something that you two can do together in order to show support. Simply let your presence be known.…

Do Not Be Afraid To Speak Out About Your Fear

Understanding Anxiety



Let’s start by understanding what Anxiety is, what they symptoms are and what can cause it.  Webster’s dictionary defines anxiety as:

  • A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties.
  • A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a realistic or fantasized threatening event or situation, often impairing physical and psychological functioning.

So simply put, it is an emotional state when one feels apprehensive. An example of apprehensive behavior is ‘worry’.…

Tips To Alleviate Sudden Anxiety Attacks


Panic or anxiety attacks are very common for people who deal with anxiety; they are also the most dreaded thing associated with anxiety. Whether you are sitting in a bus trembling and being unable to breathe or laying on your bed at end sweating profusely, a panic attack for everyone is scary. Hence, as much as anxiety attack help is essential, so is the awareness about it in order to control it and find ways to deal with it.…

Social Anxiety Disorder In Children: What You Can Do As The Parent


Social anxiety disorder (also known as SAD for short) involves a pervasive and strong fear of social situations. This fear causes the person to experience physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety and as a result, they try to avoid social situations to control this anxiety. “The distinction between an anxiety disorder and just having normal anxiety is whether your emotions are causing a lot of suffering and dysfunction,” says Sally Winston, PsyD. In adults this disorder can have a strong negative impact their lives and may lead to other mental health concerns such as low confidence, loneliness, low self worth and depression (head over to our other blog on SAD [Social anxiety: when it is more than just pre-party jitters] for more information on this disorder in adults).

For children, SAD can be just as detrimental, if not even more crippling. This is because through childhood and adolescence people learn how to interact with others, begin to develop friendships and romantic relationships. Without these experiences, it is very difficult for the child to develop a lasting sense of identity, confidence, and self-worth.

How is social anxiety in children different from adults?

Although the overall idea of SAD is the same in children and adults in that it is a fear of social situations and the physical symptoms and types of thoughts experienced are the same (see these in our other blog on SAD [Social anxiety: when it is more than just pre-party jitters]), it can manifest differently in children and because of this, it’s often difficult to notice. Children with SAD don’t tend to stand out because this is what the disorder does; it makes the person not want to call attention to themselves. As children are beginning to learn how to interact with others, they can become really good at being able to avoid social situations without it appearing obvious. They are often also the quiet, well-behaved students at home and school and because there doesn’t seem to be a “problem” from the outside eye, SAD in children tends to get overlooked.…

Adapting A 21-Day Anxiety Challenge: Self Therapy Technique


One of my good friends has Social Anxiety Disorder, and I rarely see her because of her mental health issue. The last time we were out in public was eight months ago, and it was our worse “Girls Night Out” date ever. I have known her for a little over ten years, and this was the first time I saw her with her condition. Ever since she got attacked, which was last year, my friend has been anxious in public and had these “panic” episodes.




What Happened To Her?


Her whole life changed when she was attacked by a serial mugger last October. The criminal stuck his knife in her, and she almost died. The police caught him shortly after the incident, and the guy is behind bars now. My friend may have recovered from her physical injuries, but the mental damage she incurred from it is far from repair. “Most people with anxiety know they’re being irrational, but it doesn’t help because in the moment, fear takes over.” Regine Galanti, Ph.D, explained.



We Only Talk Online



Guess how we communicate with each other? Yeah, online. It is ridiculous, I know, but she says that she’s not up to seeing people as of yet. I told her that she must overcome her anxiety if she wants to have a healthy life. My friend replied that she’s working on it with a counselor and some self-help techniques.


She also sent me a blog written by Liz Nieman from Love and Marriage Blog. It’s about the 21-Day Anxiety Challenge. She says that most days, the challenges mentioned are conquered by her, but there are also days when she finds them almost impossible to do. “The constant surges of adrenaline create highs and lows that leave your body and mind absolutely exhausted.” It is how says Sally Winston, PsyD expresses it.


The following challenges came from the said blog. (The same thoughts are expressed herein.)



The 21-Day Anxiety Challenge By Liz Nieman


Day 1 – Go out of the house and spend at least 20 minutes in public.


My friend said that this was very hard for her to do. Once she steps out of her house, she’d be shaking and trembling. The involuntary actions on her part are due to her anxiety which she is trying her best to surpass. But she did it anyway, with eyes closed and a ton of sweat.


Day 2 – Explore your creative side and color at least one page in a coloring book.


I gave her a Mandala coloring book a few months ago, and she said that’s what she’s using for this challenge. Art therapy is helpful indeed.


Day 3 – Be grateful for your life and find five blessings in you each day. Write it down in a journal.


This challenge came easy for her, she said. If only going out is also as natural, then there won’t be an issue anymore.


Day 4 – Drink lots of water.


Her words: “It’s fun to get hydrated!” She has no problem drinking lots of water.


Day 5 – Play music, sing, and dance!


My friend is a singer and a music lover, and it’s her self-help technique when she feels anxious.


Day 6 – No social media day.


She had a hard time with this challenge and didn’t complete the day.


Day 7 – Go on a relaxing bubble and aromatherapy hot bath.


Who can’t relax with this one, huh?


Day 8 – Meditate for 10 minutes today.


It was a fail day for her, she told me. On her next 21 day challenge, she is bent on successfully doing this thing.


Day 9 – Do cardio exercises for 20 minutes.




Day 10 – Sleep early tonight.


Fail! She is an insomniac and slept around midnight during that challenge day.


Day 11 – Take vitamins starting today.


Done. She is now taking Vitamin C and Vitamin E, for starters.


Day 12 – Hug your pet.


No pets, so she bought a turtle.


Day 13 – Mediate.


She wasn’t able to do it.


Day 14 – Learn about Hygge.


The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living – that’s the book she used for this challenge day.


Day 15 – Put essential oils everywhere.


This “challenge day” was her favorite day of all.


Day 16 – Create a stress ball.


My friend wasn’t able to make one, but she bought one and used it.


Day 17 – Pick a “you” time.




Day 18 – Do something that you’re good at and which makes you feel good.


She sang “Never Enough” by Loren Allred, a soundtrack of the movie, The Greatest Showman.


Day 19 – List down your anxieties.


Everything she ever felt anxious about was written down.


Day 20 – Find a solution to your anxiety issues.


She didn’t complete every solution to an anxiety issue on the list, but she will circle back.


Day 21 – Find ways to be happy; one way is by doing Liz Neiman’s happiness challenge.


Follow the 30 days Happiness Challenge. (My friend is on her Day 3 at the time of writing this article.)



So you see, she didn’t perfect her 21 days. But right now, she is more than determined to achieve success in every “challenge” day. I told her that as long as she is trying, that’s the whole point of the self-help activity. With that, it is okay to believe Terrie Moffitt, Ph.D. when she says that  “anxiety is a normal emotion which helps us recognize real problems and solve them.


Let’s see if she can perfect it this month and maybe, you’d like to try it for yourself, too.…

Anxiety Disorders And ADHD


Anxiety disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD have overlapping components. Based on research, about 25% of children who are diagnosed with ADHD are also suffering from Anxiety Disorder. It is also noted that kids with Anxiety Disorder may manifest ADHD symptoms. In fact, children who experience Separation Anxiety or Overanxious Disorder are highly likely to also suffer from ADHD.


This includes the following Anxiety Disorders:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Phobia like Social Anxiety


Anxiety Disorders have internalized symptoms that exist in a child’s mind, which is why it is more difficult to recognize compared to Disruptive Behavior Disorders. The latter have symptoms showing outward behavior, including pushing people or verbal outbursts. Only when the symptoms of Anxiety Disorders are reflected in the child’s behaviors are they noticeable to parents, pediatricians, and teachers. “They must be unable to function as well as others—and in fact, are often well below normal—in any of those domains.” Says leading ADHD expert Russell Barkley, PhD, clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics


Some of these behaviors include:



Once you suspect the presence of anxiety signs on top of your child’s ADHD, it is necessary to get the help of the child’s pediatrician or a youth psychologist.



What to Look For


Some symptoms of Anxiety Disorders that can be mistaken as symptoms of ADHD include poor concentration and restlessness, which is why it can be difficult to take note of. The difference though is that symptoms of Anxiety Disorder include restless response to boredom and lack of focus in a general sense. “Often, it’s kind of like living in a fog… The way it’s been described to me is like everything almost looks blurry physically,” said Dr. Doron Almagor, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist.



The anxiety is more pronounced and children suffering from the disorder seem:


  • Irritable
  • Stressed-out
  • Tense
  • Tired
  • Experiencing sleeplessness
  • Suffering from Brief Panic Attacks
  • Feelings of Intense fear
  • Nausea
  • Pounding ears
  • Shaking
  • Breathing difficulties


When it comes to their school performance, children with Anxiety Disorder have more problems and social difficulties than children with ADHD. While they may be less disruptive, they are considered more inefficient and distracted compared to ADHD children.



In order to find out if your child is suffering from an Anxiety Disorder, consider the following questions:


  1. Is your child excessively anxious or worried about certain school situations or activities that seem overly exaggerated and unrealistic?
  2. Is your child having difficulty controlling his/her worries?
  3. Is your child’s anxiety developing to fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbance, and restlessness?
  4. Is your child’s anxiety influencing his/her social and academic functions?
  5. Is your child’s anxiety occurring more and for a significant continued duration?


If the answer is yes, then, you might want to consult a specialist for your child’s condition. You can search the net for therapist near me if you want someone near your home so that your child’s anxiety issues and ADHD concerns are addressed as soon as possible.



Treatment for People with Anxiety Disorders and ADHD


When it comes to treating ADHD and Anxiety Disorder, combining several approaches to cater to the child’s particular situation is the best move to make. Some of the most basic things to do include are:


  • Educating the family and child on the details of the condition
  • Encouraging input from the school personnel


Initiate some behavioral therapies, including the following:



When it comes to a child suffering from both ADHD and Anxiety Disorder in an uncontrollable manner, most of the obstructed functions are caused by the ADHD symptoms. The best approach is a medical one and the child’s pediatrician can choose to go for stimulants first and simply adjust the dosage for maximal effect as side effects are monitored. “Because children and adults with ADHD struggle with focusing, organizing tasks, and feeling restless, they might experience sadness, guilt, irritability, low self-confidence and helplessness. In some cases, these symptoms can signal depression.” Kathleen Smith, PhD, LPC explains.…

Panic Disorder In Children – From A Teacher’s Perspective



My name is Mary Anne and I’ve been an educator for middle school kids for the last twenty years. I have devoted half of my life to educating and helping my students build their lives. You can say that I have seen everything – from child prodigies to regular grade schoolers and those with the “problems”. When I say “problems”, it’s usually behavioral or mental health issues.…

Help! My Husband’s Panic Attack Strikes Again!



It was past one in the morning and I woke up to my husband’s nudges. He said he couldn’t sleep and he wasn’t feeling well. His palms were sweating and he could feel the acid move up to his throat. I’d convince him that we go to the hospital but he just gets more nervous.


The incident happened three times that week – 1am, 3am, and 4am. And I’m insomniac so I usually fall asleep after midnight. You can imagine my devastation when I awaken during those times.


Each time it happened, I would try to calm him down, tell him his mind’s working so fast, moving ahead of everything that he’s actually feeling. He would walk back and forth and rant about me not caring and trying to understand him, and I would be stroking his back and telling him that’s not true, but deep inside I wish I were not there with him.


After a fourth episode, I decided to bring him to the hospital. When his doctor came, he retold his side of the story and right then and there, the doctor smiled and told him, “You have panic attacks.”


Understanding the Symptoms of Panic Attack

“The biggest misconception about anxiety is that it’s to be feared and avoided at all costs,” says Noah Clyman, a licensed clinical social worker. Back then, I was unaware of the warning signs of panic attack, which was why I would get irritated and angry with my husband because I thought he was overreacting. Well, he was, but when he overreacts, his symptoms shoot up. Here are some of the most common symptoms that you and I should be aware of:


  • Feeling numb in the hands and fingers
  • Sweaty hands
  • Chest pains
  • Fear or worry that death is near
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncontrollable emotions
  • Heart palpitations
  • The feeling of choking
  • Angry or upset
  • Easily freaks out


Panic Attack and Heart Attack


 One of the symptoms of panic attack is chest pain, which makes its course look similar to having a heart attack. However, doctors stress that panic attacks are not dangerous and are not a cause for alarm. If your physician is sure that what you’re suffering from is not a heart attack, then there is no need to worry, because they usually know the difference between the two conditions.


Dealing with my Husband’s Panic Attacks

I have been struggling to understand my husband and what he’s going through. Most of our arguments spring from his sudden outbursts of anger when he is overly anxious. It is where I understand “anxiety becomes unhealthy when its alarm makes no sense. Sometimes, people feel routinely anxious for no reason at all. At other times, the alarm is totally out of proportion to the threat, such as when a student has a panic attack over a minor quiz.” says Lisa Damour, PhD.


When he decided to talk to his doctor about his problems, he began to feel more relaxed because he knew what was happening to him. He was also prescribed anxiolytics to help him control his symptoms, although he has practiced some remedies like positive thinking that have greatly helped him calm down before even taking medications.


I also took it upon myself to learn more about panic attacks online, and I came across BetterHelp, an online resource that provides relevant information and advice about mental health issues. I learned that an episode of panic attack usually lasts for 30 minutes, and I shared this information with my husband so that he would be aware that if we found healthy ways to deal with his disturbing condition, then we could easily beat it.


My husband still suffers from panic attacks up until today. He gets it when he is pressured at work, if something bad happens, or even when he forgets to eat on time. But he is more patient now, knowing that panic attacks don’t last forever. I sit with him and tell him to remind himself that it’s nothing fatal, it’s just the panic working on him to destroy his day, and that we won’t let it do that to him. I believe in Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D said that “minimize any successes or positive changes and feel a pervasive sense of helplessness and inability to get better or change their situations.”


While we wait, he talks about how he feels (not shouts) and I listen. And we realized after a few more episodes, we have outlasted the symptoms of panic attack.…

Types Of Anxiety Disorders

When feelings of anxiety and fear are triggered off due to certain physical and environmental situations, and these situations tend to reoccur over time, it implies a mental health issue referred to as Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety disorders may vary in the intensity in which they are manifested and the symptoms that are experienced by the individual suffering from the disorder. Based on these two factors anxiety disorders can be categorized into seven types of mental disorders.…