Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why would you medicate and NOT get therapy?!

I know we can be medication phobic these days. no one wants to "label" their child or treat them too quickly for diseases they may or may not have but are we seriously THAT scared of seeking therapy that we'd medicate without actually trying to fix the OCD problem??

"WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?" you ask me. I just read a parent OCD kids group on facebook posting or five where people are giving advice about how to cope with OCD and discussing a child's troubles by saying that ther anxiety brought about from therapy was worse than the OCD but medication seemed to be working so they were NOT seeking therapy for their children. HELLO, BULLY, COME ON OVER TO PLAY AT OUR HOUSE!!!! that's what that says to me!!!

OF COURSE behaviors are worse to start, you're disturbing a bully's free reign over your child's brain..and bullies don't like to be told NO so of COURSE anxieties are worse for a while. As my daughter's therapist says to me when I feel overwhelmed by Nora's symptoms. The help for one anxiety generalizes the help for them lowers her overall anxiety by fighting the battle. If we medicate - and one day we may - it will be at low enough dose where she still has to learn strategies and fight the disease. Reducing anxiety is IMPORTANT, having a life you can THRIVE in is CRITICAL. Medicating away a problem that needs to be taught its boundaries doesn't actually help fix the problem...the medication only helps ease symptoms but it doesn't fight the problem or teach strategies to relearn what isn't actually worry-worthy.

Oh parents, this one isn't easy. I'm so sorry. I wish it were. How I wish OCD wasn't a lifelong disease, but it is. Fill your child's armory with all the weapons he or she needs to squash this bully while enhancing his/her well being not just while the medication works. Arm yourself with the PROPER do's and don'ts of fighting this bully. Don't make them up...chances are what you think is helping (ex. making an issue seem like "no big deal") is feeding OCD's greedy nature. My best help for OCD is frequently the opposite of how I would cope myself.
Nora: "mom, i talked to my teacher today and i thought i was talking too loud but i don't really think i was, is that okay?"

Me before: "oh honey, you probably weren't loud or she would have said something, its okay, no big deal."

OCD: "ooh, you were too loud you should worry about how loud you're being...haha, you better keep asking! see, don't you feel better your mom said it was okay"

ME NOW: "definitely sounds too loud."

NORA's THINKING: "no, i wasn't too loud, that was OCD"

I can repeat examples like that over and over again let alone exposure therapies that have made her force herself back into habits that were second nature before (and we still have super far to go!)...I guess my stress is that we're responsible for teaching our kids how to be great adults and teaching them to ignore professional help because we're not comfortable with the immediate results and don't like "therapy" is SELFISH and a disservice...and I'm quite sure adults with the disease would agree! And who needs the guilt from feeding their kiddos OCD bully because they're doing the wrong thing since no one was there to tell them differently.



  1. I just have to post my opinion here. I think therapy is good ----- as long as it is the RIGHT kind of therapy.
    Typical therapy isn't what's best for OCD, and I can see how parents would get frustrated with it. Talking about the things that may have caused the problem in the child's past is no way to treat OCD. And a lot of therapists just flat out aren't comfortable with OCD - --- and don't know how to treat it.
    If you can find someone who specializes in CBT and ERP, then by all means, GO AHEAD WITH THERAPY. But if you find someone who just wants to delve into the psyche, you're in the wrong spot!
    It took me years to figure that out!!! Now I have the tools to do exposures on my own, and I don't need therapy - because I'm willing to force myself to do exposures. But if your child isn't old enough to realize that's what needs to happen, it's a great thing to have a therapist there as an outside influence-- sometimes kids can just see mom or dad as mean and not as someone who's trying to help them cope with life.

    With that being said, medication is definitely a useful tool in the arsenal. Without it, I wouldn't be capable of doing as many exposures. BUT, it definitely shouldn't be relied on as the be all end all, I agree.

    There, now I'm putting my soapbox away. lol.
    Good luck with Nora. You're a brave mom for facing this head on.

  2. Oh Shana, I absolutely agree with you! Our (Nora's) therapist has OCD's number so to speak. She can tell that flicker of a moment when something is an OCD reaction vs. a Nora reaction - and she doesn't let that OCD get away with its brain games.

    It makes ALL the difference.

    At school, the big goal was understanding the brain wave jumps that differ with OCD than a regular interaction. If medication will help us get to a next step, by all means, that's the way to go...

    one day, I hope she can manage with check-ups here and're right, 10 can't do that!!! 10 is full of hormones and akwardness and new experiences, loads of new information and transition from childhood to tweenhood (help us all!) and from what i can tell a bit of social anxiety.

    if all we do is medicate at this stage, she won't get to where you are...she doesn't even know how to put her OCD in its place, she argues about what is OCD and it stops her from talking about what's behind the compulsions she has. With ineffective therapy, i can't even imagine how much that could feed the OCD worry cycle.

    thanks for your comment! insight is SO helpful!!!

  3. maybe this needs another post, but the comments left on this fb page were things like:
    -use a rubberband to snap out of thoughts
    -listen to your child's comments and help reduce their anxiety about them
    -make a list to keep the mind occupied throughout the day so they're not thinking ocd thoughts

    IF your child were breaking a bad habit, these things might WORK! but snapping a rubberband is GIVING the compulsion TO OCD! "easing" anxiety for my daughter is FEEDING OCD's was SO SAD to read that...maybe this is why I DO need to start a parent group in my area...

  4. Wow. Those ARE bad suggestions. It sounds like these poor people are subject to common misconceptions about the monster that OCD is.
    I am so glad you guys have a good therapist. That is so fortunate for Nora, even though she may hate it now.
    I am just so impressed with how you're handling it all. My daughter is unfortunately starting to show signs of it too, and as hard as it is to deal with OCD in myself, it's even harder to deal with it in my daughter's life because, as her mother, my first instinct is to try to soothe her - ease her fears. Which only feeds the OCD monster! Sigh. Keep on being a tough mom. Hopefully Nora will thank you for it in the long run!

  5. Tiffany,
    This is definitely a battle, the reflexive response I get from people about how it's the kind thing to offer reassurance. When I reassure myself, I am going to prolong my suffering, but on the surface it sounds mean. I'm glad you have a therapist for your daughter who understands OCD! When I was 8 or 9, and had OCD, I had no idea why I felt compelled to do certain rituals. My husband is really good at offering me compassion--if the OCD is really beating me up, he'll hug me, tell me I've come so far--but if I ask for reassurance, I'll definitely get an answer like, "Obviously you must have some sort of creeping stiff neck disease. Panic!"

  6. I have to echo with Shana's opinion there. If given the right counseling and guidance, therapy would be a good option. You just have to find the right people for it. I have linked a counselingwebpage that is hosted by experts who excel in giving quality care for their clients. I hope this would be of help to you.