Understanding people with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Monday, August 9, 2010

Regarding the Aug. 3 Health and Science article, "Shaking the hand of what's bedeviling them":

Many of the treatment exercises discussed are those used to treat my obsessive-compulsive disorder as well. I thought this was a fine article -- clear, accurate, descriptive -- until I read the comment referring to an exercise on confronting fears as a "bizarre ritual."

One part of healing OCD is getting past the stigma of "mental illness" to get the right help. I am sure that writer Dana Scarton meant no malice. For outsiders our symptoms and treatment are misunderstood and unconventional enough that it is often labeled in ways that reinforce stigma and resistance to diagnoses and treatment. No one wants to be considered bizarre. And, the truth is, we are not bizarre, nor is our treatment, anymore than is insulin for people with diabetes or antibiotics for an infection.

I would ask that people who are interested in learning more about this diagnosis contact the International OCD come to us with an open mind. We are not our OCD.

Lorre Leon Mendelson, Nashville

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