During recovery there are various resources that can be useful tools to support mums.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists perinatal OCD leaflet
Maternal OCD patron Dr Fiona Challacombe and Maternal OCD co-founder Maria Bavetta co-authored a leaflet with Dr Lucinda Green outlining various aspects of perinatal OCD including:
• How perinatal OCD affects women in pregnancy and after birth
• How to help yourself
• When to seek help from your GP or mental health services
• Treatment options
Click here to read the leaflet.
Pregnancy and Post Birth Well-being Plan
The Boots Family Trust has created an easy to use plan for mums to help think about the mental health and wellbeing support they might need during pregnancy and post birth. Click here to view.
Department of Health films Maternal OCD co-founder Maria Bavetta
Click image below to watch Maria describe her journey to recovery and explain the need for specialist perinatal mental health services for mothers.
Podcast with Dr Chrissy Jayarajah
Maternal OCD interviews Dr Chrissy Jayarajah about the “#OCDbfing” OCD and breastfeeding twitter chat campaign. Dr Jayarajah is a Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist for a new Perinatal Mental Health Service in London and a member of the Maternal OCD scientific advisory panel.
Please click image below for Part 1 of the #OCDbfing podcast:
Please click image below for Part 2 of the #OCDbfing podcast:
Click here to read the twitter chat #OCDbfing
Break Free From OCD – Dr Fiona Challacombe, Dr Victoria Bream Oldfield and Prof Paul Salkovskis
How to Deal with OCD A 5-step, CBT-based plan for overcoming obsessive-compulsive disorder – Dr Elizabeth Forrester
The Beating OCD Workbook: teach yourself – Dr Stephanie Fitzgerald ISBN:978-1473601345
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder The facts – Padmal De Silva and Stanley Rachman
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder The Essential Guide – Joanna Jast
OCD and Me – Ben Gander
Overcoming Anxiety – Dr Windy Dryden
ISBN 0 – 85969 – 816 – 5
The Imp of the Mind – Lee Baer, Ph.D.
ISBN 0 – 452 – 28307 – 8
Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – David Veale & Rob Willson
ISBN 1 – 84119 – 936 – 2
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies – Rob Willson & Rhena Branch
ISBN 0 – 470 – 01838 – 0
Touch and Go Joe – Joe Wells
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and self-driven recovery
An article written with thanks from a Maternal OCD volunteer and mummy!
The first step on the road to recovery is to be formally diagnosed as having OCD by a clinician. Following this, OCD sufferers have the option of pursuing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) including Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) either privately or through the NHS. CBT is recognised by NICE as the treatment found to be most effective in treating patients with OCD. It takes hard work and dedication to complete CBT, but the rewards are most certainly worth the effort. Most sufferers respond well to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Thankfully, the NHS can provide OCD sufferers with CBT, the advantage of this being that treatment is free which is important for most, the downside is that limited funding within the NHS can sometimes result in long waiting lists and limited care. Others opt for private therapy but having to pay for therapy is not always an option and it is extremely important to be sure that it is CBT that is being used and not another type of talking therapy. In both cases it is important to ensure that the CBT therapist has experience of treating patients with OCD as CBT is used widely to treat a range of different disorders. A well trained CBT therapist will help you through your recovery. This is often not easy when you are in the midst of anxiety so finding an ally in your recovery such as a friend or relative can be very helpful. Here are a few pointers to help you get the most out of CBT and help yourself along the way:
• Go prepared for your initial assessment
When you attend an initial assessment, or begin CBT, take along some notes outlining your current issues. Details such as the type of obsessions you are experiencing, compulsions you are carrying out and end goals you have can help your therapist greatly and will save valuable time in sessions. Your therapist will go through these details with you but it can be helpful to already have thought them through before you attend your session.
Communicate with your Therapist
It is vitally important that you communicate with your therapist, discussing progress, problems or any areas of concern that you might have. With a limited number of sessions allocated you need to ensure that you are getting the most out of your therapy. If you do not feel that therapy is progressing as you had hoped it would, then discuss this with your therapist so that you can determine what is causing any such issues. You are also allowed to take an audio recording device to record the sessions – this will act as a reminder of the session.
• Ensure that you are committed to completing homework set
CBT can be an excellent therapy but for most it is not a quick fix or magic cure. The patient needs to work hard at their CBT homework between therapy sessions to ensure that progress is made. Your therapist will guide and support you through CBT but it is up to the individual to undertake the challenges. The more you practice, the greater your chance of recovery!
• Read NICE Guidelines (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence)
NICE Guidelines set the standards for high quality healthcare and are used by the NHS so please reference these guidelines to ensure that you are receiving the best possible care. You may not feel up to researching these guidelines yourself, in which case, ask someone close to you for support in doing this.
The guidelines detail standards which could be of use to you such as:
1. NICE states that all women who need psychological interventions in the perinatal period should start treatment within 4 weeks of initial assessment
2. ‘OCD and BDD can have a fluctuating or episodic course, or relapse may occur after successful treatment. Therefore, people who have been successfully treated and discharged should be seen as soon as possible if re-referred with further occurrences of OCD or BDD, rather than placed on a routine waiting list.’
(CG31 Obsessive-compulsive disorder – Issue date: November 2005)
• For private CBT only
Most patients can self refer to a private therapist without seeing a GP first however if this is your chosen route please make sure the therapist has had experience of treating perinatal OCD and is on the www.babcp.com register..
• Learn about OCD
Learning about your OCD, and understanding that OCD is a disorder that you can recover from, can make you feel much more empowered and give you the strength you need on your road to recovery. Lack of knowledge about the disorder can make it even more frightening. Understanding what OCD is and having knowledge of it can make it all seem a little less frightening. There are many books available that can help you gain knowledge about OCD and reading about the experiences of others can also help and make you feel less alone – please see the Resources section for further details.
Knowing what triggers your OCD can also help vastly in managing OCD symptoms. Stress, for example, can be a huge trigger for many OCD sufferers so learning relaxation techniques and knowing how to manage stress in your life can make a huge difference.
• Help those around you understand how to support you
Support and understanding from those around you can make such a difference in recovery. It can be extremely hard and frustrating for loved ones to understand OCD when they have not experienced it for themselves. It is natural for friends and family to want the compulsions to simply stop but, as we all know, this takes time, patience and encouragement.
Point carers, friends and family in the direction of OCD books, websites and support groups to help them feel supported themselves, and enable them to learn about OCD. This can highlight the part they can play in your recovery – many books and websites also have sections aimed specifically at carers, friends and family which may help.
• Be kind to yourself
One of the most important parts of recovery is to be kind to yourself! Keeping as calm and comforted as possible will go a long way towards aiding recovery.
Remember, it is not your fault that you have this disorder, blaming yourself or beating yourself up about it will not help. See yourself similarly to someone who is physically unwell, after all just because our mental health is not always obvious, this does not make perinatal OCD any less serious or distressing than being physically unwell. We all need to look after ourselves when we are unwell and having OCD is no different.