Per my introductory post, in several upcoming posts I want to discuss briefly different mental disorders and recommend a book or two that I’ve found informative. This list isn’t just for sufferers, as I mention in my early post it is my opinion that anyone who wants to be a leader (educational, religious, political, business) should familiarize themselves with the major psychological disorders. Today we will talk about OCD and ADHD.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
According to the National Institute of Mental Health this disorder affects 2.2 million U.S. adults each year. The NIMH defines OCD as, “…an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as handwashing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called ‘rituals,’ however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.”
- Rapoport, Judith L. The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing: The Experience and Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Signet, 1991. 304 pp. My Comments: This book is perhaps the best volume I have ever read on OCD. Unfortunately, it is nearly eighteen years old. Here’s hoping for an updated edition in the near future! Still, its case studies are priceless in helping both those who suffer and those who don’t understand the disorder. Not to mention that Rapoport is one of the definitive experts in the field.
- Crawford, Mark. The Obsessive-Compulsive Trap: Real Help for a Real Disorder. Regal Books, 2004. 168 pp. My Comments: This volume is much smaller and more recent than Rapoports’ but lacks the depth of case studies Rapoport’s book provides. Still, it covers most of the bases and is a quick read. It is written from a distinctly Christian perspective.
Attention Deficit (Hyperactive) Disorder:
ADHD is perhaps one of the more common disorders and a polarizing disorder. There is a significant number of individuals who challenge the existence of ADHD, believing it to be an excuse for behavioral and social issues. That said, it affects between 3-5% of children and over 4% of adults according to the NIMH and is Wikipedia describes it as, “is characterized by a persistent pattern of impulsiveness and inattention, with or without a component of hyperactivity.”
- Hallowell, Edward M. and John J. Ratey. Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder. Ballantine Books, 2005. 416 pp. My Comments: This volume is extremely readable and informative. Written by two M.D.’s who suffer from ADHD the volume speaks from both personal and clinical experience and covers all aspects of the disorder.
- Hallowell, Edward M. and John J. Ratey. Driven To Distraction : Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood. Touchstone, 1995. 336 pp. My Comments: The original classic volume from Hallowell and Ratey on ADD. If you only want to read one book I’d recommend Delivered from Distraction, if you want to add a second…read the original volume.
Recognizing and dealing with what is wrong with ourselves can be huge. It can help us function at a higher level and enjoy life more. It can also be useful when we see these sorts of disorders in others. It can give us a sense of empathy that we might not otherwise be able to experience. The suffering caused by mental disorders while not visible is tremendous, and working together we can significantly increase our own and others overall health by getting the medical help we need and being there for one another.