Millions of Americans suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Their lives are consumed by anxiety and their relationships with family and friends strained. They are subject to the often frequent but unhelpful advice to “just stop it.” For anyone who suffers from OCD, and for their families, colleagues and caregivers, Dr. Jonathan Grayson’s book Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder offers unique insight into what is behind the disorder and provides a unique plan for overcoming it. Now in a second edition (May, 2014), this important book has been completely updated.
Dr. Grayson has been working with patients with OCD for over three decades and has appeared frequently as an expert on the condition, including the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Grayson believes that the first step to overcoming OCD is learning to live with uncertainty. Unlike other experts, he does not try to convince sufferers that their feared consequences are remote, even if they are, but that they must make peace with the fact that something bad might happen in the future if they are to live and enjoy the here and now. For many with OCD, that’s a message they have never heard before, but it is one that has proved very successful for Grayson’s many patients.
Once sufferers have accepted uncertainty, Dr. Grayson uses exposure and response prevention (ERP), a cognitive behavioral technique, to break the bonds of OCD. Through ERP, sufferers must not only confront their fear but immerse themselves in it. For instance, someone with contamination fears might touch a contaminated object and then touch everything else in the house, including their clothes and bodies. Medication can be part of an integrated, step-by-step program. Dr. Grayson gives those who want to fight their OCD extensive guidance on how to create their own personal program tailored to their particular fears and situation.
Many OCD sufferers have called Freedom from OCD the best book they have ever read on the disorder. Patricia B. Perkin, executive director of the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation, calls it, “Not just another self-help book, this is an actual course of interactive therapy that breaks the cycle of fears and ritual. Dr. Grayson’s uniquely empathetic and effective approach offers readers the understanding and motivation they need to get well-and stay well.”
Dr. Grayson is the director of the Anxiety and Agoraphobia Treatment Center in Philadelphia and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Temple University Medical School. He runs OCD camps to help sufferers confront and move past their fears and is a founder of GOAL (Giving Obsessive-compulsives Another Lifestyle), a support group program that has had its techniques adopted by OCD organizations across the US. He is currently working on an updated edition of Freedom from OCD to be released in January 2015.
— Caroline Patton