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BARBCAT, Re: Question for McPac re OCD

Posted by McPac on June 20, 2003, at 21:36:34

In reply to Question for McPac re OCD McPac, posted by Barbara Cat on June 20, 2003, at 0:12:18

Hi Guy,

>>>>>>Hi Barb! Glad I just now happened to see this post of yours. I didn't see it before.

Have a question for you. In your experience, does OCD seem like an overfocussing problem, like you focus on one obsessive refrain over and over? Does it seem like OCD is very different from ADD/ADHD which seem like not enough focus, losing the train of thought, etc.

>>>>>>>>Barb, first off, as is the same with many conditions, OCD comes in a tremendous range of severity to people with the problem. Picture this example---you run into a friend at the store...she casually mentions that her tooth has been aching....it's NOT a bad ache at all, in fact it really causes her very little discomfort and she's standing there chewing on an apple at the same time...point being, she really doesn't have much of a toothache at all. Then after seeing her, you drive home. You stop at your neighbor's house and knock on her door for something. She can BARELY walk to the door, her entire side of her face is swollen to the size of a friggin canteloupe, she is crying in terrible, dreadful pain because she has a TOOTHACHE (she would need a dentist PRONTO!) But the point is both folks say that have the same thing, a toothache! Many people have a very, very mild form of ocd (more like ocd-like tendencies or idiosyncracies)...to the point where it really is NOT a big deal at all. They go about their merry lives, doing whatever they want, not needing medicine at all. I can say, without question, that I KNOW that at one point my ocd was about as bad as a human could have it...as far as PURE pain! OCD can take so many forms. Although some folks can spend 16 hrs a day doing something compulsively (could be anything..cleaning, checking, ruminating, etc., that is their FREQUENCY, or simply the LENGTH of the obsessive or compulsive act. Now, granted it's a crummy thing to spend all day doing something like cleaning a house compulsively, for example. But, for some people, IF they have a low degree of torment (SEVERITY), they may actually be able to deal with their problem (I've met ocd'ers who spent LOTS of time on their compulsions, yet they were not in discomfort...they would choose to not take medicine simply because the SEVERITY was not a problem. Many people say they are depressed and take anti-dep's, yet they are really no nore depressed than the man-in-the-moon! What they call depression, we would call a picnic!! The same with OCD. Mine was, at one point years ago, UNDESCRIBABLE. There is an extremely painful, mental torturous feeling to what I like to refer to as TRUE OCD, or SEVERE OCD. Only another ocd'er who has had that type of ocd, to that level, can understand the feeling. I honestly hate even thinking back to those days (if it were not for the meds, it would come back, and if I had to go without meds for very long AT THAT LEVEL, believe me, I would end that myself).
Now, with that background out of the way, I'll answer your questions....."does OCD seem like an overfocussing problem, like you focus on one obsessive refrain over and over?".....God Yes!!!!The obsessive ruminations...wow...where to begin...again Barb, it is ALL ABOUT frequency and more importantly severity......an obsessive thought or obsessive thinking, can go on hour after hour after hour after hour...endlessly (like the Energizer bunny!)....it can be THE MOST hyperfocused thing that you could possible imagine....I could not type this at all...I could not read 2 sentences of a book, etc., if I was thinking AT A very high obsessive level....it goes far BEYOND hyperfocus (hyperfocus to the 28th power?, lol) Now, other folks, with only a mild rumination problem, may simply ruminate on a MUCH less severe level (the toothache example). I taught a few doctors years ago (when ocd research and knowledge was extremely ignorant...it still is in many ways, to most docs)....it is NOT the act itself that makes the ocd but rather it is the FEELING/STATE/INTENSITY behind the act! ANYTHING CAN be an obsessive act! Somebody can tap their fingers on a desk for 5 minutes while reading a book...or simply just because they feel like it. Somebody else, with ocd, HAS to tap that desk (often in a VERY certain, ritualistic manner)...the KEY is they HAVE to do it, come hell or high water! There may be very little, insignificant intensity in one ocd'er doing it (very mild ocd, almost more of a quirk than anything) while another ocd'er, AT a SEVERE level of ocd, may do that very same act with incredible, torturous, mental pain.....someone can literally spend the entire day doing that....again, I can't emphasize this enough, it is NOT the act itself, it is the SEVERITY that is the HELL! WORST s**t on Earth Barb! Mental torture at it's worst! And yet some folks (I've met many) will say they have ocd yet on such a lower severity level that they could never understand the truly severe level. Barb, I definitely believe I have the innattentive ADD thing as well. I can't even compare the 2 (ocd/add) as being in the same league...severe ocd is MUCH worse! Not even a question about that. (Though again, I would rather have extremely mild ocd than severe add. The add is more like daydreaming...the ocd is more like hyperfocus IN PAIN. Yes, add'ers can also hyperfocus (the opposite of their more frequent lack of focus), BUT the SEVERITY level is NOT the same...they will enjoy the hyperfocus (when they get interested in something---a project, magazine, whatever, they focus in on it yet in a more pleasurable, interested way....the ocd is unpleasurable, extremely distressing hyperfocus (again, unless it is the milder form). Milder obsessive thinking certainly COULD look just like the hyperfocused ADD, no question. The distinction in such a case is then made by looking at other criterian. So yes, a milder form of ocd (without the distress, discomfort, unpleasantness, and purely obsessional) could look just like add.
"Does it seem like OCD is very different from ADD/ADHD which seem like not enough focus, losing the train of thought, etc."
>>>>Aside from the very mild ocd example I just gave you (which could look like add), YES, they are very different in that ocd is extremely distressing, uncomfortable, causes tremendous anguish, I'm talking a mental pain feeling....ADD can CREATE great turmoil (losing relationships, jobs) but the actual physical SENSATIONS are different...terrible ocd is HELL ON EARTH. (One big reason that I believe mine reached such incredibly severe levels was a serious head injury, which I definitely believe resulted in truly horrendous ocd (and other problems as well).
If so, it makes me wonder if meds for ADD would be counterproductive for OCD, i.e., you want to focus less rather than more. If that's the case, then I'd think that norepineprine enhancing drugs would not be your first drug of choice.

>>>>>>>>Barb, I've never even really cared about my ADD symptoms...I told a doc that he looked incredulously at me...but I explained that the OCD was Hell and the ADD was merely more like daydreaming...I don't care about the ADD, only the OCD. The only reason I brought up the Reboxetine drug the other day was that after reading about it (it sure had great results in tons of trials the world over) was because the FDA didn't approve it and gave no reason for that. But when I saw the norepinephrine thing, yes, I don't believe it would be good for an ocd'er (unless, in some strange way the INITIAL raised NE levels were eventually met by the brain downregulating the effect, thereby possibly adjusting???? just a wild guess, I'm not too sure about a lot of that biochemistry, lol. But I was not very interested in it myself. Hey, here's something though.....Remeron, which does have a big NE effect at higher doses, HAS been found to be effective for many with ocd! It also has significant serotonin properties as well though so I'm not sure about the biochemistry-type reasoning for its effectiveness. But I do know that once, after taking Remeron at a high dose and feeling wayyyy too hyper and hating it for a while, I then lost much of that hyper feeling.....(the downregulation/brain adjusting effect????) But in general Barb, I can say that I DON'T like a hyper feeling from a med; I like the calming, mellow feeling. And, I am pretty sure about this, most ocd'ers have TOO HIGH of norepinephrine levels to begin with!
"then I'd think that norepineprine enhancing drugs would not be your first drug of choice".
Totally agree! (the Remeron example though makes me wonder....unless it's simply the serotonin effect of that drug that does the trick?)

Here's my reasoning: ADD seems to have poor blood supply to the frontal lobes and stimulants wake up that area, mainly through enhancing dopamine. Norepinephrine increases dopamine - I can't remember which is a precursor to which, but they're very intimately related. So, you probably wouldn't want the same drug that someone with ADD would use, namely, anything that increases dopamine. I may be way off base here, it's just a supposition, but if true, Reboxitine would not be a good drug for you.

>>>>>>Yep!

Good old rotten SSRI's would seem a better choice.

>>>>>>>Zoloft works EXTREMELY well for my ocd (side effects blow, lol) SSRI's are a first-line choice of drugs for ocd'ers.

Do you know what brain system is implicated in OCD?
>>>>>>>>>>Yes, I believe the cingulate gyrus is the main problem area (though the basal ganglia may definitely be involved as well)

Thanks for your kind words about my post. If you think I've got conspiracy leanings, you ought to talk to my husband! The man is a walking encyclopedia on things I'd rather not know but probably should.

>>>>>>>>>The JFK assassination always fascinated me! Love to watch documentaries and stuff on that!

Take care. -BCat

>>>>>>>Barb, my longest post EVER!!!!! And with ONE FINGER!!!I'm a 1-finger typist and that should be a disorder in itself, lol!!!!Take care Barb!!! Best wishes always to you! And thanks for caring about the Reboxetine/Norepinephrine thing....I don't want that stuff, lol!!!


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poster:McPac thread:235009
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/20030619/msgs/235660.html