Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brain Lock

Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior
(Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D.)

I've had this book for about six months now. It has been very slow reading, but I finally finished it this morning. Brain Lock was recommended by my son's therapist to help with the OCD component of his anorexia. The book is written for adults not kids, so I was the one trying to interpret and help my son utilize some of the recommendations.

Schwartz begins by explaining the medical background of OCD. He takes the approach that OCD is caused by a brain malfunction (which I appreciate). The book then recommends four steps in dealing with OCD: 1) Relable, 2) Reatribute, 3) Refocus, and 4) Revalue. I understood each of these principles for the most part. However, they blurred together in many ways. The book uses case studies to illustrate each principle. These were helpful in many ways.

Once I finished reading about the four steps, the book finishes with in-depth stories of many of the case studies found in the book. The stories were interesting, but I thought they were discouraging at best. Most of the main subjects were still failing in their lives because of the OCD -- not great case studies, in my opinion.

Schwartz's suggestions for dealing with OCD were very helpful if I boiled them down to just a few main ideas: 1) Say to yourself, "it's the OCD, not me." 2) Understand that these thoughts/compulsions/obsessions are caused by a problem in the brain, 3) Distract yourself from doing the behavior by getting involved in other activities or using a time limit - i.e. "I won't do this for 15 minutes." 4) Remind yourself that you aren't bad or weird -- it's just a brain thought cause by a malfunction. Don't make it more important that it is.

I think I was able to successfully teach the concepts to my son who has found them to be helpful in dealing with both OCD and anorexia. He was in recovery as we introduced these concepts and the OCD tendencies were increasing. They have steadily decreased since then, but that could also be attributed to his increased weight and mental function.

This is probably not a first-read or must-read book for parents of children with anorexia. Instead it could be viewed as a later-read depending upon your individual family needs and dealings with OCD.

I purchased this book on Amazon for about $10.

1 comment:

Dr.Rutledge said...

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