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Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals: The Hidden Epidemic of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder [Paperback]

Ian Osborn
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 13 1999
While on vacation, Raymond incessantly checked the carpets of Disney World looking for poison he had seen spilled there--in his mind.... Sherry was terrified of her thoughts about stabbing her baby daughter.... Jeff couldn't silence a mental voice urging him to have sex with men and animals....

Howard Hughes had it. So did historical figures Martin Luther and Ignatius of Loyola. They all suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)--as do over five million Americans who need to know that there is now hope and help. Ian Osborn, M.D., a specialist in OCD and a sufferer himself, has written the first comprehensive book on the experience, diagnosis, and treatment of OCD. He reveals recent discoveries about the disease as a biological disorder--a physical, not a psychological abnormality--and the exciting new therapies that have dramatically changed the future for OCD sufferers.

His wise, compassionate book includes:

Pencil-and-paper tests for self-diagnosis
Six steps to conquering OCD
Medication that works
Early signs that show OCD in children
Guidelines for family members
A comprehensive listing of where to find organizations and support groups--and more

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From Booklist

As many as six million Americans may suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), making it one of the most common mental diseases. Osborn had a bout with it while in medical training, and he narrates the unfolding understanding of the disease and its treatment informatively and readably. In medieval times, many felt that the disorder had a religious basis. Later, puritanism imputed it to sinning, and psychoanalysis "proved" that it had deep psychological roots. Osborn shows that OCD is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and that behavior therapy and drugs, preferably together, can take care of it for most patients; Osborn personalizes this part of the discussion with case histories of individuals rather than stick-figure textbook abstractions. He also mentions new research, such as that which finds a possible link between OCD and childhood streptococcal infections; brain injury and stress may also play causative roles. He concludes with a long list of OCD support groups and other helpful information. William Beatty --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"A truly wonderful, compassionate book."
--James W. Broatch, executive director, Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation

"A splendid book on OCD--lively, lucid, informative, and scholarly."
--Ronald Pies, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine

"A marvelous achievement--an excellent and very practical overview of OCD and its treatment."
--Jeffrey Schwartz, M.D., associate professor, UCLA School of Medicine

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER can now be understood on a neurobiological level, yet its symptoms still seem altogether mysterious. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book Nov. 15 2003
By A Customer
This book is fabulously informative and written in such a kind manner, you'd want the author for your own therapist. It is especially good for those who have just realized they have OCD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No real solutions Feb. 12 2004
By A Customer
This book focuses on symptoms and not solutions. If you want real solutions, buy Jonathan Grayson's book called "Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder." That is the best book on OCD I have ever read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great and Unusual Book Sept. 5 2003
By A Customer
Dr. Osborn does a great work with this book. In the early chapters he provides case histories that let us see first hand what OCD is. Then he provides a diagnostic test for self-evaluation. Then he cuts loose with the definitions. OCD thoughts fall into four categories, fear of contamination (filth), fear of hurting others or oneself (harm), fantasies of impulse (lust) and fear of hurting God or one's relationship. (blasphemy). He does not cover hoarding or collecting behaviors in detail, but mentions the possible relationships.
Dr. Osborn's principle insight is that OCD is neurobiological in origin, and that it is successfully treated with serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Zoloft and Prozac. He argues that it should be renamed "basal ganglia" disorder, since this is the brain center implicated (along with the thinking trail to the frontal lobe). I hope this proposal is adopted.
The author uses four criteria to establish an OCD thought, and its matching, anxiety reducing behavior, which are the obsession and the compulsion respectively. Such thoughts have four properties which can be remembered by the mnemonic 2IRU. OCD thoughts are inappropriate, intrusive, recurrent and unwanted. This is what distinguishes them from addictive thoughts.
This book unlocked for me an understanding of a multigenerational difficulty and for Dr. Osborn's many insights I am grateful.
- Van
www dot wdv dot com
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3.0 out of 5 stars talk therapy DOES help March 6 2003
By A Customer
This book is great for history and sharing insights, but to imply in any way shape or form that talk therapy has no place in treating OCD is absurd!!! Also - too much emphasis on faith. Not there for me. I am a sufferer of OCD and have been most of my life. This book certainly helped me feel not alone, but I am a very strong believer in the curative powers of a supportive therapist. Self-help only works within the confines of good therapy. PERIOD. Try the book "STOP OBSESSING!" by Foa. Now talk about a great book with lots of strategies to help manage/control the OCD. I recommend that one with 10 stars!!! Sorry - I seem to be one of few who doesn't think that Tormenting Thoughts is the be all and end all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars All about OCD Sept. 7 2002
By eugene
This is probably the best book on the subject. It tells you everything you wanted to know about OCD and related issues, including some rarely-discussed topics (e.g., the link to one's personality). The author ultimately places OCD in the biological realm and lists the latest evidence, along with the explanation of the brain areas involved. Unfortunately, nothing about OCD is simple or straightforward; but there exist effective treatments and plausible, scientifically tested causes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, informative book May 23 2002
By A Customer
Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals is the most comprehensive book on OCD that I have come across. It provides in-depth information on the biological and psychological roots of OCD, treatment methods, medications, and related disorders (hypochondria, body dismorphic disorder, etc.) that are readily accessible to the layman and the typical OCD sufferer. I read this book after being diagnosed with an OCD-spectrum disorder, Hypochondria, that made me obsess about contracting Rabies from a friend's housecat so much that I feared I was becoming psychotic, or that God was punishing me for some imagined sins. This book dwells more on the causes and affects of OCD, and refers the user to other books for self-help treatment, but the overview of treatment options was immensely helpful (without it, I may have wasted valuable time in psychoanalytic therapy, which is at best useless and at worst harmful for OCD victims).
If there is a second edition of the book, however, I'd like to see the neurological sections expanded to include Stuttering in its list of neurological disorders with an affinity to OCD. (Osburn may have felt the section on Tourette's included Stuttering by extension.) I have both Stuttering and obsessive-compulsive behavior, and for months after my initial diagnosis of OCD, I was unable to find any resources that talk about the link between Stuttering and OCD - finally, I found a highly-technical article in a neurology journal that noted that OCD happens to Stutterers at approximately the same rate it happens to Tourette's victims (about half to two-thirds of stutterers will develop obsessive-compulsive behavior at some point, as well as ADD/ADHD symptoms). Even many psychologists are not aware that Stuttering predisposes a person to OCD. That seems odd, since Stuttering is a fairly common affliction (there are more stutterers than there are Tourette'ers). If Osburn reads these reviews, I hope he makes a note for the next edition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely effective April 23 2002
Very good book for OCDers. In my opinion, there are only 2 valuable books available on the market today for OCDers. One is titled "STOP OBSESSING!", the this book!
The most valuable aspect of this book is the way it describes "actual" fears and thoughts of OCDers. This helps you realize you are not alone, and you are not so weird after all.
I felt a weight lift off my chest after I put this book down. My advice to you. Buy this book, buy a highlighter. Highlight everything in this book that relates to you. Use it as a reference when you are OCDing.
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