Emily and Lindsay both struggled with OCD as kids. Even though they were sisters, OCD showed up in very different ways for each of them.
No one knows for certain what causes OCD. We know what areas of the brain are implicated in OCD, but the rest seems up for discussion. We need more research to understand this disorder. Some kids have OCD symptoms due to an umbrella of issues under PANDAS/PANS. Research is showing that inflammation in the brain can impact mental health and cause neuropsychiatric symptoms, including OCD. Many kids have autoimmune issues, infections such as strep or have had environmental exposure to things like mold or Lyme that can cause an inflammatory response.
Annie Gudger was in her twenties and six months pregnant when she lost her husband in a car accident. Her story is one of tragedy and resilience. It is one of loss and love. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I talk to Annie about her journey through grief and the lessons her story can offer us all.
Ben was always an anxious child, but behind that anxiety lurked something else. It took a stay in a treatment center for eating disorders and eight therapists to finally get the help he truly needed, with the diagnosis he actually had – OCD. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast, Ben walks us through his journey with OCD, from his inability to share his intrusive thoughts, to his unrelenting search to find an effective therapist trained in OCD. Ben is determined to be a part of the effort to remove the stigma attached to OCD, especially for men who all too often do not find help and strength complimentary words.
It is important for all kids to learn how to advocate for themselves. It is an especially important skill for kids with anxiety or OCD. Many of us feel like we have to go to bat for our kids with anxiety and OCD over and over again. But often we forget the important aspect of pulling back over time to teach our kids how to advocate for themselves. Self-advocacy builds self-esteem and empowerment. It helps kids learn that they have a voice. We can teach our kids to advocate for themselves in simple steps. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I talk about the ingredients to self-advocacy and how to build those skills one step at a time.
Ultimately we want our kids to live a life where they walk towards their anxiety or OCD fears and discomfort. The more they build those anxiety and OCD skills, the more resilient they will become. Natural exposures can help on two fronts. If your child is not ready to commit to formal ERP (Exposure Response Prevention), the main approach in OCD treatment, doing natural exposures can be a great first step. Second, we want our kids to develop an organic, authentic way of dealing with anxiety or OCD. When they learn how to create natural exposures when faced with triggers, they learn how to live their life while keeping anxiety or OCD at bay. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I explore how natural exposures can help and how to get them started.
Sometimes the anticipation of doing something can create even more anxiety than the event itself. Many of our anxious kids have anticipatory anxiety. Anticipatory anxiety can immobilize our kids and create a tsunami of anxious feelings. Unfortunately anticipatory anxiety can grow anxiety to such a height that it becomes insurmountable when the day finally arrives. So how can we take the wind out of anticipatory anxiety’s sails? It is key to learn how to catch those spirals before our kids spin out of control. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I discuss how anticipatory anxiety can show up as well as approaches you can use to reduce its impact on your child’s mental health.
Parents often ask me if they should tell the school about their child’s anxiety or OCD. The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. There are things to consider. Like does their anxiety or OCD impact their academic performance or ability to function at school? Is there a chance that they will be mislabeled or misunderstood due to their anxiety or OCD? In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I explore the areas to consider when weighing the pros and cons of telling the school about your child’s anxiety or OCD.
It is helpful to understand the many different disguises OCD can wear. When we understand how OCD can show up, we can nip it in the bud more often. Relationship OCD is often talked about in an adult context, but it impacts kids and teens as well. I invited Kristina Orlova, an anxiety and OCD therapist and creator of OCD Academy, to come onto the AT Parenting Survival Podcast to help us understand ROCD better.
When your child is struggling with anxiety or OCD it can feel overwhelming to travel internationally. How will their anxiety handle all the change? Will their OCD be triggered? Helping our child with anxiety or OCD is a marathon not a sprint, and life should still be lived and enjoyed. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I discuss my tips, tricks and hacks to traveling internationally with kids who have anxiety or OCD.
School refusal can be one of the hardest aspects of anxiety or OCD. It can impact so many areas including your child’s education and your employment. With everyone so stressed, it can be hard to respond in an intentional, effective way. That is why I brought Dayna Abraham, author of the new book, Calm the Chaos, onto the AT Parenting Survival Podcast. She has a talent for breaking things down into simple steps.
We are hearing more and more about how inflammation is implicated in many mental health issues including anxiety and OCD. But what does that mean? Are there ways we can see if our child is struggling with inflammation? Are there things we can change in their diet or lifestyle that will reduce inflammation?
I don’t know those answers, but I do know someone who does! That is why I invited Dr. Ann Kulze, a renowned physician and founder of the Healthy Living School to come and talk to us. Dr. Ann has been featured on the Dr. Oz show, Oprah and Friends Radio, Time, and WebMD sharing her expertise in this area.