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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Brain Lock - a truly remarkable treatment plan for OCD
on August 27, 2001
I read Dr. Schwartz' book over 2 years ago while in the throes of a debilitating panic disorder fueled by OCD-like intrusive thoughts. Once the panic was under control (via meds) I started to search for a cognitive-behavioral treatment plan to control the obsessive thoughts. For years I tried to self-analyze the thoughts which amounted to pulling on one of those ropes which would further constrict the more you struggled. The panic disorder finally led me to a specialist who diagnosed both the panic and a mild form of OCD. I say mild since there are clearly OCD patients whose lives are extremely curtailed by the disorder such as incessant hand washing, fear of contamination, leaving the house, and so on. I'm fortunate not to suffer from this form of OCD, although I have experienced some agoraphobia, not uncommon with panic/OCD patients. As a result, I now understood that OCD (and panic) is nothing to be ashamed of and in fact is highly treatable due to recent, breakthrough advances in treating mental illness, medication being at the top of the list. Knowledge is power so no longer stigmatized, I was able to approach the problem as any other by looking for further research on treating the disorder and lucky for me, I came across the book "Brain Lock". "Brain Lock" demystifies OCD by attempting to explain the physiology behind the disorder. I am not medically trained but found the explanations plausible enough to continue on into the treatment phase. The most memorable, constantly reinforced phrase I recall from the book is that whenever you find yourself obsessing about an undesired thought, simply say to yourself "its not me its my OCD". Once that realization hits home, you shift ALL your focus to something else such as work, a good book, playing with your child, or anything activity that removes you from the obsessive "stuck in gear" pattern. It sounds simple but it DOES work. But you must work at it and the more acute the disorder the more difficult it is to shift control. That is where medication can be helpful as Dr. Schwartz points out. He doesn't really push meds put acknowledges it as a crutch to get the ball moving in the right direction. He claims that most, if not all his past patients at time of writing are off meds, using his 4-step, cognitive-behavioral process alone. That is remarkable! I have been on meds to control the panic but would probably go off it should the mild OCD be my only problem. Despite meds, I still run into occasional bouts with OCD but using Dr. Scwhartz's 4-step method, I am able to shift gears and move away from it quickly. As a result, I don't build up guilt and discomfort at having the thoughts in the first place since I don't give them time to fester as I had done in the past. "Its not me its my OCD". Again, Brain Lock is a great read for someone aware of having OCD and looking for a self-help method of controlling it.