Sunday, November 29, 2009

OCD in the Media

A couple of interesting links. On Friday Howie Mandel was on 20/20, talking about his experience with OCD. I've always wondered why he didn't get treated, rather than just refuse to shake anyone's hand. Turns out he is receiving treatment, but apparently it's not too successful (he doesn't say this, it's my interpretation). Mandel has just published a book about his OCD and ADHD. I'd like to read what he has to say about his treatment.

In other OCD news, the New York Times has an article about surgical treatments for mental illness, which focuses on OCD. I've read about this surgery before, offered on an extremely limited basis to people with debilitating and treatment resistant OCD. I suspect I'd never choose it, but I'm not morally opposed to the idea.

What fascinated me was the comments attached to the article. The majority felt this was simply the lobotomy all over again. While there's not actually evidence of that, there is evidence that the surgery mostly just doesn't work very well. But I was struck by the number of commenters who basically said, "why can't we just accept people with differences." It's clear to me that these are not people with OCD. Even at my worst, I fit into society just fine, the problem is that my life can turn into total crap. Most people with OCD want nothing more than to not have OCD, and if surgery might someday be a viable option, I wouldn't want that door closed. And I especially wouldn't want that door closed by someone who has no idea what I'm going through.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for pointing out this article. Like you, I was really taken by the comments. As I've noticed when looking at reviews of books on places like Amazon, the people who tend to write either totally love or totally hate the book. No one with a moderate opinion writes in. Not always true, of course, but often. So an article like this really brings the extremists out of the woodwork. They don't want to debate or discuss, they just want a soapbox.

    Also like you, I noted that very few of those responding admitted to OCD, and many of those who did felt that at least the option of such a surgery should be maintained. One comment really resonated with me:

    "I wonder how many of the 99% of patients who where denied these procedures eventually ended up committing suicide. A bullet to the brain destroys significantly more brain cells than any of these surgeries does. Speaking as someone who has battled severe and unremitting major depression for over 20 years, I feel obligated to remind readers that a very common outcome of these truly nightmarish illnesses is suicide. The risk-benefit calculus must also take into account the potential or probable risks of non-treatment."

    I think as long as people can be realistic about expectations - understand that there is no such thing as a perfect cure, and that any surgery can go awry - then this is a good thing.

    Blue Morpho