Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘OCD’

Death Calls Us All

Death Calls Us All

Mental Health Monday continues our weekly series today with an eye-opening, hard-hitting look at the deep-seated fear and anxiety we all have about dying and death.  Dr. Barry Lubetkin, interestingly chose this topic today, the very day after the Christians of the world celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – this is just my personal observation.

“A 76 year old gentleman consulted me recently concerning his lifelong Type-A behavior at work and at home.  He never rested, he told me. He was always ON, working, strategizing, planning. He hadn’t vacationed in years and refused to ever consider retirement.  He had denied his family countless hours of quality time with him, while he went about driving himself,  never stopping to smell the roses.  After several hours of therapy it became clear that one of the motivators behind his inability to relax and stay in the moment was a profound fear of dying. By never quieting himself, he was able to continuously distract himself from anticipating his own demise.

This case is not the exception.  As Baby Boomers begin to experience the physical and mental effects of their aging, they are forced to consider the inevitability of their own mortality. While many are able to accept with grace that dying is a natural part of living, many others secretly live their lives with terror about dying, and develop mental and physical behaviors designed to DENY its reality. Obsessive compulsive behavior, cruel and sadistic personality styles, certain phobias, depression, severe anxiety, and even ironically, suicidal thoughts are often partially driven by unexpressed anxiety about dying.

Since we all are going to die eventually, we had better become as proactive as possible in de-horrorfying and de-catastrophizing our thoughts about our eventual demise. A sensitive and experienced cognitive behavior therapist can be helpful. Also I strongly recommend the best book on the subject of overcoming terror about dying….”Staring at The Sun” by Psychiatrist Sydney Yalom.  It should be required reading for all of us.  It is that good!”  As always feel free to email me at IBT104@AOL.com

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »

Available through Amazon

Available through Amazon

Where are the lines drawn between the disease-stricken hoarders, the messy clutterers and the over-enthusiastic collectors? Dr. Barry Lubetkin, Phd, ABBP offers us insight on the distinction between a diagnosed disorder and a hobby or personality characteristic.

Hoarders and Clutterers and Collectors Oh My!!!

The Psychiatric problem of hoarding had been under diagnosed for many years .But recently with increased media attention(see several New York Times articles in the past four months),the

wildly popular reality TV show “Hoarders” and recent major advances in the diagnosis and treatment of this mental affliction, many more people are getting professional help.
It is important to point out that while many of us may have lived with and accepted clutter in our homes for our entire lives, being diagnosed as a hoarder requires that the clutter must seriously interfere with the quality of our lives and risk our safety. Navigating through dangerous paths in our home with furniture and garbage piled on either side, shame of exposure leading to living lonely isolated lives, or irrational superstitious beliefs that cleaning up or throwing out certain articles will lead to terrible consequences………these all will confirm the diagnosis.

The etiology of hoarding is multi determined…….a previous diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder, prolonged depression, unkempt,and chaotic childhood homes, have all been implicated. Even the well intentioned collector who has enjoyed his passion for saving and displaying his collections is sometimes at risk if other psychiatric disorders emerge and create a vulnerability to depression and indifference to caring for themselves or their living conditions.

Treatment involves a variety of interventions :Anti depressant medication,engaging family support during the clearing process, Cognitive Behavior Therapy to reduce anxiety and panic and designed to educate the hoarder on the irrational and superstitious thinking elements of the disorder,and guided practice in controlling their environment post treatment.

With less serious clutter collectors who feel their mess has gotten difficult for them to control, I suggest starting with small portions of the affected areas (one corner of the bedroom,piles of books and papers on the floor,etc), and slowly progress over time to prioritize what to throw out. Dividing your “stuff” into A ,B and C groups………must keep, maybe keep, must dispose, is often very helpful. Feel free to contact me at ibt104@aol.com for further advice.

 Barry Lubetkin, Phd, ABBP is co-director of the Institute for Behavior Therapy in Manhattan.  Dr. Lubetkin has written two widely acclaimed books. Bailing Out (Simon and Schuster and Prentice Hall Press) and Why Do I Need You To Love Me In Order To Like Myself (Longmeadow and Borders Press). In addition, his 3-disc audio series on treating insomnia Dr. Barry’s Sound Asleep has recently been published. 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »