While doctors and therapists are yet to fully understand this mental illness, they offer evidence-based strategies, tools, and techniques to fight OCD. Below are the Top 12 books on how to understand and manage this condition.
When two anxiety experts come together to write a book and offer helpful tips and insights into cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the result is Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts. This is a powerful reading material that focuses on how your thoughts could affect your life. Thoughts could cause you so much anxiety and distress, but the authors assure that thoughts are just thoughts, and so you shouldn’t be scared or be plagued by them. With such mindset, it would be easier for you to cope with dread, guilt, shame, and other negative mental influences. The authors are highly respected in the field of OCD. Sally M. Winston, PsyD, the first chair of the Clinical Advisory Board of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), is a master clinician who regularly conducts OCD workshops for therapists. Martin N. Seif, PhD, on the other hand, is an associate director of The Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center and a certified cognitive-behavioral psychologist from the American Board of Professional Psychology.
Everyday Mindfulness for OCD: Tips, Tricks, and Skills for Living Joyfully by Jon Hershfield MFT and Shala Nicely LPC is a helpful guide, reminding you to stop dwelling on what’s wrong and start focusing on what is right, in order to enjoy life. Both authors are experts in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and they deliver a mindful, humorous, and compassionate approach in their book. Reid Wilson, PhD and author of Stopping the Noise in Your Head, said Everyday Mindfulness for OCD is “The most empowering OCD book I have ever read.” The book reminds people with OCD that life is beautiful and no amount of diagnoses could ever change that. Living with OCD is challenging, but it shouldn’t define anyone. To outsmart OCD, the authors present games, tips, tricks, meditations, mindfulness exercises, and so much more. According to another expert in the field, Dr. Kristin Neff, “This book is a breath of fresh air for anyone who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).”
Brain Lock, Twentieth Anniversary Edition: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior by Jeffrey M. Schwartz is a classic that has helped over 400,000 people overcome obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Providing new content and features, the author presents a simple yet effective four-step method to fight OCD, brain-imaging tests that don’t rely on psychopharmaceuticals, and cognitive self-therapy. Dr. Jeffrey M. Schwartz is a world-renowned psychiatrist at the UCLA School of Medicine. The four simple steps to defeat OCD are Relabeling, Reattributing, Refocusing, and Revaluing, and the techniques presented in this book are so effective that they are now employed in academic treatment centers around the world. The book’s unique feature is that it highlights real-life stories of actual patients to demonstrate how the author’s revolutionary method works for real. This is “A remarkable achievement!” said Eric Hollander, M.D., Compulsive, Impulsive & Anxiety Disorders Program, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. “This book will make a world of difference in the lives of people with OCD.”
Needing to Know for Sure: A CBT-Based Guide to Overcoming Compulsive Checking and Reassurance Seeking by Martin N. Seif PhD and Sally M. Winston PsyD presents effective and proven tips, tools, and techniques to fight obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the book helps people diagnosed with OCD to tolerate uncertainties, face worrying life situations, and reduce the compulsive need to seek reassurance, as well as define and deal with stubborn “doubt attacks”. The CBT skills can help free people from the exhausting and painful patterns brought about by OCD. As a result, one will build self-confidence and better outlook in life. Ken Goodman, a board member of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, finds this book very valuable. He said, “I was blown away when I read this book. It perfectly describes my anxiety-reddened patients who are so consumed with doubt and uncertainty, that they need constant reassurance to live their life.”
Breaking Free of Child Anxiety and OCD: A Scientifically Proven Program for Parents by Eli R. Lebowitz answers so many questions and provides a number of solutions to parents who are experiencing anxiety over raising children diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Parents will learn a parent-based treatment program for their children and how to alleviate their children’s anxiety. Parents will be challenged to change how they respond to their children, without requiring or pressuring the children to change their behavior. The book will show parents how to be confident, supportive and accepting, rather than accommodating (which allows anxiety to flourish). The author also provides practical lessons such as how to talk with an anxious child, how not to be overly protective or demanding, and how to identify when parents are unknowingly enabling a child’s anxious behaviors. Dr. Eli R. Lebowitz is the director of the Program for Anxiety Disorders and an expert in child and adolescent anxiety at the Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center.
When a Family Member Has OCD: Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Skills to Help Families Affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Jon Hershfield MFT and Jeff Bell does exactly that – guides families in caring for a family member diagnosed with OCD. It provides helpful and practical tips on how to cope with a loved one who constantly demonstrates compulsive behaviors and demands for reassurance. This book is definitely one of a kind in the way it addresses the family. It is helpful even to experts. According to Patrick B. McGrath, PhD, clinical director of the Center for Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital, this book is a major accomplishment and it helped him better serve the families that to him for counseling. He said, “When a Family Member Has OCD just made my job easier, because now there is a fantastic resource available to individuals with OCD and their families that I can recommend. I only wish I had written it.”
There are illnesses that enslave people and everyone around them. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of them. People who have been diagnosed with it constantly suffer from anxiety and obsession, and in need of assurance, affecting their relationships with friends and family. Because of OCD, research reveals that about six million Americans are suffering from a fear of contamination, unable to manage anxiety-related rituals, and are excessively concerned with order, symmetry, and counting. They need to be free from this condition and Jonathan Grayson’s book can help. Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty provides practical tips and tools to addressing OCD. It presents self-assessment tests, case studies highlighting the author’s successful treatment program, therapy scripts, new therapies and techniques, and “trigger sheets”, among other helpful content. Dr. Jonathan B. Grayson, a licensed psychologist, is the director of the Grayson Center and Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California.
OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by Bruce Hyman has been endorsed by hospitals and clinics from around the world as an authoritative reading and resource material on OCD. It has gained much popularity for presenting the latest evidence-based approaches, coping strategies, and proven and effective self-help techniques to better manage and understand OCD. The book also addresses the needs of family members, so they could better support a loved one suffering from such a baffling and frustrating disorder. The OCD Workbook is a helpful guide to recovery, using self-assessment tools, cognitive behavioral self-help tools and techniques, and medications and medical treatments. This workbook has been awarded “The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Seal of Merit” for being consistent with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and incorporating scientifically tested strategies. Experts in the field agree that Bruce Hyman’s work is exceptional. According to Fred Penzel, PhD, “This is a first-rate resource for those seeking to recover their lives from this torturous disorder.”
Free Yourself from OCD: CBT-Based Strategies to Manage Intrusive Thoughts and Compulsive Behaviors by Jonah Lakin PsyD presents simple, practical, proven, and effective strategies to break free from the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is a user-friendly book with clinically proven strategies to help people suffering from OCD, helping them to better understand and manage their condition. The book will help them identify problematic thoughts and behaviors, overcome disturbing urges, and stay focused and resilient. This book sets itself apart from other titles on the subject matter by introducing evidence-based exercises, providing actual examples, and being accessible by everyone. Readers will learn clear coping techniques, including exposure and response prevention therapy and mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy. Dr. Theodore Gradman, a licensed clinical psychologist, wholeheartedly recommends this book to anyone struggling with OCD. He said, “This book covers a wide range of OCD fears, including fear of having chosen the wrong mate, the possibility of having a different sexual orientation, contamination, disease, being immoral and so on.”
Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD by Allison Britz is a powerful and compelling personal account of a teenager who bravely faced her debilitating struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Allison Britz lived the usual carefree life of a teenager, until she had a frightful dream at 15 years old. She dreamed she would be suffering from cancer and this has caused her to live a life of anxiety, distress, and imbalance. Little by little she developed fear of several day-to-day objects, including cell phones, hair dryers, calculators, computers, and anything green, among others. This went from bad to worse very quickly, and finally she asked for help and was diagnosed with OCD. Her memoir follows her descent and ultimately hopeful climb out of her painful bout with the condition. “Readers will empathize with Britz,” said the School Library Journal, “experiencing from her perspective the potential effects of OCD and cheering her along as she steadily improves.” Today, Allison lives a normal life. She enjoys reading, cooking, and binge-watching on Netflix.
OCD: A Workbook for Clinicians, Children and Teens: Actions to Beat, Control & Defeat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by Christina J. Taylor tackles with children and teens the rather serious condition of OCD through a creative, user-friendly, and interactive method. With such an approach, any young reader will be encouraged to take control of OCD, as they are introduced to cognitive behavioral strategies designed to help them overcome their obsessions and compulsions. The book provides step-by-step worksheets and exercises, relaxation techniques, thinking skills to manage anxiety, and strategies to overcome checking, contamination, being too worrisome, perfectionism, hoarding, religious obsessions, and compulsions. The book introduces the ABCD of OCD – “Actions to Beat, Control and Defeat” the condition. The author, Dr. Christina Taylor, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, is an expert in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Disorders, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
The OCD Travel Guide: Finding Your Way in a World Full of Risk, Discomfort, and Uncertainty by Michael Parker LCSW explains obsessive-compulsive disorder, identifies the symptoms, and differentiates OCD thoughts and urges from your personal beliefs, values, and desires. In this book, Michael Parker provides effective strategies to help you better understand the condition, prioritize your internal compass over OCD’s “Bad Directions”, and manage and take control of your life. He draws from evidence-based ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) approaches and produces interesting presentations on Understanding the Symptoms of OCD, the OCD Cycle of Avoidance, and strategies to venture out in life. The book will guide you in managing your brain as you travel and to get rid of some of your baggage. The author, Michael Parker, LCSW is Co-Director of The Center for OCD and Anxiety in Pittsburgh. As an expert in the treatment of OCD and other anxiety-related issues, he skillfully and competently blends ERP and ACT strategies.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a debilitating mental condition that causes one to incessantly fixate on unwanted thoughts, urges, or sensations. A person diagnosed with OCD feels compelled to do something over and over again; it is a compulsive feeling, without any logical cause or reason. It is more than just biting one’s nail or being anxious about what could happen the next day. OCD is about having an urge to wash your hands over and over and over after touching something that you think is dirty. You can’t stop washing your hands repeatedly even when you know you shouldn’t. You feel powerless and unable to control certain actions, and eventually your own life. These compulsive habits usually take up at least an hour a day, interfering with your work, social life, and normal day-to-day functions. The most common forms of OCD are the compulsive checking of locks, light switches or whether you are sick or not, fear of many things especially of becoming dirty, need to have things lined up, and obsessing over negative, disturbing thoughts. Experts are still not sure what causes OCD, but studies point to these as possible triggers: brain differences, depression, trauma, and a history of sexual or physical abuse as a child.
People diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) need love, care, patience, and understanding from family and friends. This is a serious, debilitating condition that could take years of treatment and struggle. Millions and millions of Americans are suffering from OCD, and many of them rely on drugs and medications. The list of books above offers safer and more effective alternatives, based on studies, experiences, and broadly accepted strategies. Authors, experts, and practitioners openly share these strategies through these titles. All you need to do is pick up one, two or all of the readings to begin your journey towards a victorious life over OCD.