|May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)|
|Contents||Bulletin||Scripting in shell and Perl||Network troubleshooting||History||Humor|
|News||Books||Recommended Links||Informing yourself to death||Overload||Workagolism as escape path from social problems|
|Female Sociopaths||Micromanagers||The psychopath in the corner office||High Demand Cults Leaders Practices as a Model of Corporate Psychopath Behavior||The Fiefdom Syndrome||Understanding Borderline Rage|
|Office Slaves: the rise of bullshit jobs||Mental Overload||Drinking from a firehose -- informing ourselves to death||Social Problems in Enterprise Unix Administration||Humor||Etc|
OCD is a neurobiological condition which is characterized by obsessions -- repetitive unwanted thoughts, ideas or images typically about harm (contamination, death of a loved one, violent or sexual thoughts) that intrude in the mind and won't let up and compulsions-repetitive behaviors (washing hands, counting, tapping, checking) to try to ward off perceived risk and harm.
Now we can talk about Internet related forms OCD. Like in classic OCD:
Unlike everyday worries, obsessions are experienced as disturbing, bizarre, senseless and counter to the sense of himself (a devout Catholic has thoughts about cursing God; a loving child pictures stabbing his parents) and evoke dread, guilt, and discomfort.
Categories of OCD symptoms include:
The thoughts are so disturbing to the child that even though they make no sense (tapping everything four times to prevent harm to one's parents) the child feels compelled to believe the authority of those thoughts and comply with the commands.
Rationalizations and reinforcements of the compulsive attachments and aversions and the neurotic solution that they engender.
Aaron T. Beck and associates (pg. 361)
American Psychiatric Association (1994, pp. 672-73). Preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control.
The neurotic "solution" is idealized (Horney, 1950, pg. 22)
John M.Oldham and Lois B. Morris (pp. 62-63)
"Call them the backbone of America. Conscientious-style people are the men and women of strong moral principle and absolute certainty, and they won't rest until the job is done and done right. They are loyal to their families, their causes, and their superiors. Hard work is a hallmark of this personality style; Conscientious types achieve. No accomplished doctor, lawyer, scientist, or business executive could get far without a substantial amount of Conscientious style in his or her personality pattern. Neither could a computer whiz, an efficient housekeeper, an accountant, a straight-A student, a good secretary -- or anyone else who works hard to do well. The Conscientious personality style flourishes within cultures such as ours in which the work ethic thrives. Conscientious traits -- hard work, prudence, conventionality -- may even confer a longevitity advantage. We address this style first among the fourteen because the Conscientious style is adaptable, common, and thus likely to be a principal component of many diverse personality profiles. Indeed, within our society so wide a range of Conscientious behaviors is considered normal, even admirable, that it may be hard to draw the line between the Conscientious personality style and the Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder (p. 77) that marks its extreme. What are we to say about the man or woman who always takes a briefcase filled with work along on a vacation? Is he or she a workaholic who can't relax and is headed for an early heart attack? Or this a person who loves to work, thrives on challenge, and is bound for great things in his or her career? That depends on whether the style enriches the six domains of this person's life or controls and distorts them."
"While perfectionists condescendingly look down on others their arrogant contempt for others is often hidden" (Cooper, 116).
"Neurotic pride cannot endure anything less than perfection without extreme self-recrimination" (pg. 142).
"Expansive people tend to identify with their pride, whereas self-effacing people are afraid of it. This is one way of distinguishing self-effacing people from perfectionists, with whom they share many values. Both try to be good, dutiful and loyal; but perfectionists are proud of their virtue, whereas self-effacing people have a taboo against pride and must disclaim special merit" (Paris, pg. 210).
"Horney indicates that the perfectionists' beliefs in their greatness are less naive than the narcissists, yet perfectionists, too, have an inflated expectation for complete justice. In other words, they are entitled to fair treatment in life because of their high standards. After all, they are fair, just, and dutiful, so how dare life not also contain an infallible justice! According to Horney, perfectionists hate all undeserved fortune, regardless of whether it is good or bad. This 'invalidates the whole accounting system'" (Cooper, pg. 116).
Perfectionist standards provide two important elements (a) being superior to others and (b) controlling life. (pg. 117).
"'Perfectionists demand "respect [from] others rather than glowing admiration" (NHG, 196) and a just reward for their rectitude'" (Cooper, pg. 141, quoting Paris, p. 208).
"As confirmation of his opinion of himself, he needs respect from others rather than glowing admiration (which he tends to scorn). Accordingly his claims are based less on a 'naive' belief in his greatness than (as we have described it in Chapter 2 on neurotic claims) on a 'deal' he had secretly made with life. Because he is fair, just, dutiful, he is entitled to fair treatment by others and by life in general. This conviction of an infallible justice operating in life gives him a feeling of mastery. His own perfection therefore is not only a means to superiority but also one to control life. The idea of undeserved fortune, whether good or bad, is alien to him. His own success, prosperity, or good health is therefore less something to be enjoyed than a proof of his virtue. Conversely, any misfortune befalling him—such as the loss of a child, an accident, the infidelity of his wife, the loss of a job—may bring this seemingly well-balanced person to the verge of collapse. He not only resents ill fortune as unfair but, over and beyond this, is shaken by it to the foundations of his psychic existence. It invalidates his whole accounting system and conjures up the ghastly prospect of helplessness" (Horney, 1950, pp. 196-97).
"Also, since he is as exacting on others as he is on himself, his influence on others is often cramping, especially if he is in an executive position" (pg. 315).
"The imposition of their standards on others leads perfectionists to admire a select few and to be critical or condescending toward the majority of humankind" (Paris, pg. 197).
"The bargain of the perfectionist is based on a legalistic conception of the world order: 'Because he is fair, just, dutiful, he is entitled to fair treatment by others and by life in general. This conviction of an infallible justice operating in life gives him a feeling of mastery'. Success is not a matter of luck or being the favorite of fortune, as it is for the narcissist, or of a superior shrewdness, talent, and ruthlessness, as it is for the arrogant-vindictive person; rather, it is a proof of virtue. Ill fortune could mean that the perfectionist was not really virtuous or that the world was unjust. Either conclusion shakes him 'to the foundations of his psychic existence', invalidating 'his whole accounting system' and conjuring up 'the ghastly prospect of helplessness'. If he recognizes 'an error or failure of his own making', self-effacing trends and self-hate may come to the fore (NHG, 197)" (Paris, pg. 198).
"Perfectionists demand 'respect from others rather than glowing admiration' (NHG, 196) and a just reward for their rectitude" (Paris, pg. 208).
"[P]erfectionists identify with their superior standards of behavior" (Cooper, pg. 116).
"The difficulties of the perfectionistic type are in some ways opposite [to the narcissistic type]. He works methodically and attends rather too meticulously to details. But he is so cramped by what he should do and how he should do it that there is no room left for originality and spontaneity. He is therefore slow and unproductive. Because of his exacting demands on himself he is easily overworked and exhausted (as is well known of the perfectionist housewife) and lets others suffer as a result" (Horney, 1950, pg. 315).
"They were made to feel worthless or guilty when they did not live up to their parents' demands, but by conforming to expectations they put themselves beyond reproach and gained a feeling of superiority" (Paris, pg. 197).
"Whereas narcissists identify with their claims, perfectionists identify with their shoulds, which are very strong indeed. They make strenuous efforts to measure up to their shoulds 'by fulfilling duties and obligations, by polite and orderly manners, by not telling obvious lies'. Their 'arrogant contempt of others' is hidden behind 'polished friendliness' because their shoulds 'prohibit such "irregular feelings"' (NHG, 196). They think they 'should be able to control every anxiety, no matter how deep it is, should never be hurt, and should never make a mistake' (NW, 207). Their judgment must always be correct, and they must perform all roles and tasks to perfection. Horney became aware of the power shoulds wield in her examination of perfectionism in New Ways in Psychoanalysis, but she later came to see that they exercise a coercive force in every solution" (Paris, pg. 206).
"Perfectionists cannot be perfect and cannot control their anxieties" (pp. 206-207).
"Perfectionists identify with their shoulds and look down on others from their lofty height. They make strenuous efforts to fulfill the shoulds and deal with their failures by equating standards with performance or by various forms of externalization. Because of the stringency of their inner dictates, perfectionists are often in rebellion against them and experience 'listlessness and inertia' in the face of what they are 'supposed to do or feel'" (pp. 207-208).
"The pride system tends to intensify the self-hate against which it is supposed to be a defense, since any failure to live up to one's tyrannical shoulds or of the world to honor one's claims leads to feelings of worthlessness" (Paris, IKHS).
"According to Horney, even perfectionsits often fail to recognize the manner in which they hold others in contempt because of shortcomings. Much of this is, of course, the projection of their own unconscious self-contempt" (Cooper, pg. 116).
"Neurotic pride cannot endure anything less than perfection without extreme self-recrimination" (pg. 142).
"[A]ny misfortune befalling him such as loss of a child, accident, the infidelity of his wife, the loss of a job—may bring this seemingly well-balanced person to the verge of collapse" (Horney, 1950, pg. 197).
"His other breaking points we mentioned when discussing the tyranny of the should: his recognition of an error or failure of his own making, and his finding himself caught between contradictory shoulds. Just as a misfortune pulls the ground away from under him, so does a realization of his own fallibility. Self-effacing trends and undiluted self-hate, kept in check successfully hitherto, then may come to the fore" (Horney, 1950, pg. 197).
Karen Horney: Intrapsychic Strategies of Defense
American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV. 4th ed. Washington: Author.
Beck, Aaron T. and Freeman, Arthur M. and Associates (1990). Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders. New York : Guilford Press.
Terry D. Cooper (2003). Sin, Pride, and Self-Acceptance: The Problem of Identity in Theology and Psychology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Karen Horney (1939). New Ways in Psychoanalysis. New York: W. W. Norton.
___________(1942). Self-Analysis. New York: W. W. Norton.
___________ (1950). Neurosis and Human Growth. New York: W. W. Norton.
John M.Oldham and Lois B. Morris (1995). The New Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love, and Act the Way You Do. Rev. ed. New York: Bantam.
Bernard J. Paris (1994). Karen Horney : A Psychoanalyst`s Search for Self-Understanding . New Haven, CT: Yale UP.
Bernard J. Paris. "Brief Account of Karen Horney." International Karen Horney Society. http://plaza.ufl.edu/bjparis/horney/intro.html
"Moving against others is an attempt to alleviate interpersonal anxiety by conquering, defeating and dominating others. An excessive need to control one's surroundings is typical of this trend. Pride or excessive self-regard seems dominant. (Cooper, pg. 115).
Of Horney's (1942, pp. 52-55) "Neurotic Needs"
4. The neurotic need for power:
4a. The neurotic need to control self and others through reason and foresight (a variety of 4 in people who are too inhibited to exert power directly and openly):
- Belief in the omnipotence of intelligence and reason;
- Denial of the power of emotional forces and contempt for them;
- Extreme value placed on foresight and prediction;
- Feelings of superiority over others related to the faculty of foresight;
- Contempt for everything within self that lags behind the image of intellectual superiority;
- Dread of recognizing objective limitations of the power of reason;
- Dread of "stupidity" and bad judgment.
4b. The neurotic need to believe in the omnipotence of will (to use a somewhat ambiguous term, an introvert variety of 4 in highly detached people to whom a direct exertion of power means too much contact with others):
- Feelings of fortitude gained from the belief in the magic power of will (like possession of a wishing ring);
- Reaction of desolation to any frustration of wishes;
- Tendency to relinquish or restrict wishes and to withdraw interest because of a dread of "failure";
- Dread of recognizing any limitation of sheer will.
5. The neurotic need to exploit others and by hook or crook get the better of them:
6. The neurotic need for social recognition or prestige (may or may not be combined with a craving for power):
7. The neurotic need for personal admiration:
8. The neurotic ambition for personal achievement:
"In the expansive solutions the individual prevailingly identifies himself with his glorified self. When speaking of 'himself' he means, with Peer Gynt, his very grandiose self. Or, as one patient put it, 'I exist only as a superior being'. The feeling of superiority that goes with this solution is not necessarily conscious but -- whether conscious or not -- largely determines behavior, strivings and attitudes toward life in general. The appeal of life lies in its mastery. It chiefly entails his determination, conscious or unconscious, to overcome every obstacle -- in or outside himself -- and the belief that he should be able, and in fact is able, to do so. He should be able to master the adversities of fate, the difficulties of a situation, the intricacies of intellectual problems, the resistances of other people, conflicts in himself. The reverse side of the necessity for mastery is his dread of anything connoting helplessness; this is the most poignant dread he has" (Horney, 1950, pp. 191-92).
The expansive type takes pride in his strength, leadership, heroism, and omnipotence. (Cooper, pp. 115)
"The pride system tends to intensify the self-hate against which it is supposed to be a defense, since any failure to live up to one's tyrannical shoulds or of the world to honor one's claims leads to feelings of worthlessness" (Paris, IKHS).
The expansive solution, or neurotic trend, seems to be predominant in:
Nov 23, 2016 | tech.slashdot.org(nytimes.com) 184 Posted by msmash on Monday November 21, 2016 @12:20PM from the dilemma dept.
The New York Times ran a strong opinion piece that talks about one critical reason why everyone should quit social media: your career is dependent on it. The other argues that by spending time on social media and sharing our thoughts, we are demeaning the value of our work, our ideas . (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternate source .)
Select excerpts from the story follows:
In a capitalist economy, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable. Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable. Any 16-year-old with a smartphone can invent a hashtag or repost a viral article. The idea that if you engage in enough of this low-value activity, it will somehow add up to something of high value in your career is the same dubious alchemy that forms the core of most snake oil and flimflam in business.
Professional success is hard, but it's not complicated. The foundation to achievement and fulfillment, almost without exception, requires that you hone a useful craft and then apply it to things that people care about. [...] Interesting opportunities and useful connections are not as scarce as social media proponents claim. In my own professional life, for example, as I improved my standing as an academic and a writer, I began receiving more interesting opportunities than I could handle. As you become more valuable to the marketplace, good things will find you.
To be clear, I'm not arguing that new opportunities and connections are unimportant. I'm instead arguing that you don't need social media's help to attract them. My second objection concerns the idea that social media is harmless. Consider that the ability to concentrate without distraction on hard tasks is becoming increasingly valuable in an increasingly complicated economy. Social media weakens this skill because it's engineered to be addictive. The more you use social media in the way it's designed to be used -- persistently throughout your waking hours -- the more your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the slightest hint of boredom.
Once this Pavlovian connection is solidified, it becomes hard to give difficult tasks the unbroken concentration they require, and your brain simply won't tolerate such a long period without a fix. Indeed, part of my own rejection of social media comes from this fear that these services will diminish my ability to concentrate -- the skill on which I make my living.
A dedication to cultivating your social media brand is a fundamentally passive approach to professional advancement. It diverts your time and attention away from producing work that matters and toward convincing the world that you matter. The latter activity is seductive, especially for many members of my generation who were raised on this message, but it can be disastrously counterproductive.
Jul 24, 2015 | The New York Times
A walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve our mental health, according to an interesting new study of the physical effects on the brain of visiting nature.
Most of us today live in cities and spend far less time outside in green, natural spaces than people did several generations ago.
City dwellers also have a higher risk for anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centers, studies show.
These developments seem to be linked to some extent, according to a growing body of research. Various studies have found that urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have a higher incidence of psychological problems than people living near parks and that city dwellers who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside.
But just how a visit to a park or other green space might alter mood has been unclear. Does experiencing nature actually change our brains in some way that affects our emotional health?
That possibility intrigued Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, who has been studying the psychological effects of urban living. In an earlier study published last month, he and his colleagues found that volunteers who walked briefly through a lush, green portion of the Stanford campus were more attentive and happier afterward than volunteers who strolled for the same amount of time near heavy traffic.
But that study did not examine the neurological mechanisms that might underlie the effects of being outside in nature.
So for the new study, which was published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mr. Bratman and his collaborators decided to closely scrutinize what effect a walk might have on a person's tendency to brood.
Brooding, which is known among cognitive scientists as morbid rumination, is a mental state familiar to most of us, in which we can't seem to stop chewing over the ways in which things are wrong with ourselves and our lives. This broken-record fretting is not healthy or helpful. It can be a precursor to depression and is disproportionately common among city dwellers compared with people living outside urban areas, studies show.
Perhaps most interesting for the purposes of Mr. Bratman and his colleagues, however, such rumination also is strongly associated with increased activity in a portion of the brain known as the subgenual prefrontal cortex.
If the researchers could track activity in that part of the brain before and after people visited nature, Mr. Bratman realized, they would have a better idea about whether and to what extent nature changes people's minds.
Mr. Bratman and his colleagues first gathered 38 healthy, adult city dwellers and asked them to complete a questionnaire to determine their normal level of morbid rumination.
The researchers also checked for brain activity in each volunteer's subgenual prefrontal cortex, using scans that track blood flow through the brain. Greater blood flow to parts of the brain usually signals more activity in those areas.
Then the scientists randomly assigned half of the volunteers to walk for 90 minutes through a leafy, quiet, parklike portion of the Stanford campus or next to a loud, hectic, multi-lane highway in Palo Alto. The volunteers were not allowed to have companions or listen to music. They were allowed to walk at their own pace.
Immediately after completing their walks, the volunteers returned to the lab and repeated both the questionnaire and the brain scan.
As might have been expected, walking along the highway had not soothed people's minds. Blood flow to their subgenual prefrontal cortex was still high and their broodiness scores were unchanged.
But the volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health, according to their scores on the questionnaire. They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk.
They also had less blood flow to the subgenual prefrontal cortex. That portion of their brains were quieter.
These results "strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments" could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Mr. Bratman said.
But of course many questions remain, he said, including how much time in nature is sufficient or ideal for our mental health, as well as what aspects of the natural world are most soothing. Is it the greenery, quiet, sunniness, loamy smells, all of those, or something else that lifts our moods? Do we need to be walking or otherwise physically active outside to gain the fullest psychological benefits? Should we be alone or could companionship amplify mood enhancements?
"There's a tremendous amount of study that still needs to be done," Mr. Bratman said.
But in the meantime, he pointed out, there is little downside to strolling through the nearest park, and some chance that you might beneficially muffle, at least for awhile, your subgenual prefrontal cortex.
The Washington Post
Forget Russian figure skater Julia Lipnitskaia spinning in a blur with her leg impossibly held straight up against her ear. The sight of skier Bode Miller collapsing with emotion at the end of a race dedicated to his brother while NBC cameras lingered uncomfortably on the long shot. Or even jubilant Noelle Pikus-Pace climbing into the stands to race into her family’s arms after her silver medal finish in the Skeleton.
The image that stands out most in my mind during the broadcast of the 2014 Winter Olympics? The Cadillac commercial with a boxy, middle-aged white guy in a fancy house striding purposefully from his luxurious swimming pool to his $75,000 luxury Cadillac ELR parked out front while extolling the virtues of hard work, American style.
“Why do we work so hard? For stuff?” actor Neal McDonough asks in the commercial that has been playing without cease. “Other countries work. They stroll home. They stop by a café. They take the entire month of August off. “Off,” he says again, to reinforce the point.
“Why aren’t you like that? Why aren’t WE like that?”
The first time the commercial aired during the Opening Ceremonies in Sochi, the slight pause after those two questions made me hopeful. I sat up to listen closely.
Was he about to say – we should be more like that? Because Americans work among the most hours of any advanced country in the world, save South Korea and Japan, where they’ve had to invent a word for dying at your desk. (Karoshi. Death from Overwork.) We also work among the most extreme hours, at 50 or more per week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American works about one month more a year than in 1976.
Was he going to say that we Americans are caught up in what economist Juliet Schor calls a vicious cycle of “work-and-spend” – caught on a time-sucking treadmill of more spending, more stuff, more debt, stagnant wages, higher costs and more work to pay for it all?
Would he talk about how we Americans, alone among the advanced economies, whose athletes are competing between the incessant commercials with such athleticism and grace, have no national vacation policy. (So sacrosanct is time off in some countries that the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in 2012 that workers who get sick on vacation are entitled to take more time off “to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure.”).
American leisure? Don’t let the averages fool you, he could say. While it looks like leisure time has gone up, time diaries show that leisure and sleep time have gone up steeply since 1985 for those with less than a high school degree. Why? They’re becoming unemployed or underemployed. And leisure and sleep time for the college educated, the ones working those crazy extreme hours, has fallen steeply.
Americans don’t have two “nurture days” per child until age 8, as Denmark does. No year-long paid parental leaves for mothers and fathers, as in Iceland. Nor a national three-month sabbatical policy, which Belgium has.
Instead of taking the entire month of August off, the most employers voluntarily grant us American workers tends to be two weeks. One in four workers gets no paid vacation or holidays at all, one study found. And, in a telling annual report called the “Vacation Deprivation” study, travel company Expedia figures that Americans didn’t even USE 577 million of those measly vacation days at all last year.
Center for Economic and Policy Research, May 2013 Center for Economic and Policy Research, May 2013
So as I watched the Cadillac commercial, hanging onto that rich white guy’s pause, I was hoping he’d make a pitch to bring some sanity to American workaholic culture. It wouldn’t have been a first for the auto industry. Henry Ford outraged his fellow industrialists when he cut his workers’ hours to 40 a week. (Standards in some industries at the time were for 12-hour workdays, 7 days a week.) Ford did so because his internal research showed 40 hours was as far as you could push manual laborers in a week before they got stupid and began making costly mistakes. He also wanted his workers to have the leisure time to buy and use his cars.
The rich guy takes a breath and smirks. We work so much “Because we’re crazy, driven hard-working believers, that’s why.”
Bill Gates. The Wright Brothers. Were they crazy? He asks. We went to the moon and, you know what we got? Bored, he says.
“You work hard. You create your own luck. And you’ve gotta believe anything is possible.” Fair enough. “As for all the stuff?” he says as he knowingly unplugs his luxury electric car, “that’s the upside of only taking TWO weeks off in August, n’est ce pas?”
Apr 20, 2015 | NYTimes.com
Discussing Bad Work Situations
I have been in my present position for over 25 years. Five years ago, I was assigned a new boss, who has a reputation in my industry for harassing people in positions such as mine until they quit. I have managed to survive, but it's clear that it's time for me to move along. How should I answer the inevitable interview question: Why would I want to leave after so long? I've heard that speaking badly of a boss is an interview no-no, but it really is the only reason I'm looking to find something new. BROOKLYN
I am unemployed and interviewing for a new job. I have read that when answering interview questions, it's best to keep everything you say about previous work experiences or managers positive.
But what if you've made one or two bad choices in the past: taking jobs because you needed them, figuring you could make it work — then realizing the culture was a bad fit, or you had an arrogant, narcissistic boss?
Nearly everyone has had a bad work situation or boss. I find it refreshing when I read stories about successful people who mention that they were fired at some point, or didn't get along with a past manager. So why is it verboten to discuss this in an interview? How can the subject be addressed without sounding like a complainer, or a bad employee? CHICAGO
As these queries illustrate, the temptation to discuss a negative work situation can be strong among job applicants. But in both of these situations, and in general, criticizing a current or past employer is a risky move. You don't have to paint a fictitiously rosy picture of the past, but dwelling on the negative can backfire. Really, you don't want to get into a detailed explanation of why you have or might quit at all. Instead, you want to talk about why you're such a perfect fit for the gig you're applying for.
So, for instance, a question about leaving a long-held job could be answered by suggesting that the new position offers a chance to contribute more and learn new skills by working with a stronger team. This principle applies in responding to curiosity about jobs that you held for only a short time.
It's fine to acknowledge a misstep. But spin the answer to focus on why this new situation is such an ideal match of your abilities to the employer's needs.
The truth is, even if you're completely right about the past, a prospective employer doesn't really want to hear about the workplace injustices you've suffered, or the failings of your previous employer. A manager may even become concerned that you will one day add his or her name to the list of people who treated you badly. Save your cathartic outpourings for your spouse, your therapist, or, perhaps, the future adoring profile writer canonizing your indisputable success.Send your workplace conundrums to email@example.com, including your name and contact information (even if you want it withheld for publication). The Workologist is a guy with well-intentioned opinions, not a professional career adviser. Letters may be edited.
November 4, 2013 nytimes.com
Clifford I. Nass, a professor of communication at Stanford who died on Saturday, regaled me several times over the years about his method for torturing students in the undergraduate dorm hall where he was an adviser. He would make them communicate face to face.
No devices, no texts or tweets — and no phone calls. Those were his rules on what he called face-to-face day, a periodic experiment he ran in the dorm. He said the day was a chance for students to experience life without their digital intermediaries.
The results troubled and humored Dr. Nass, who had an unkempt shock of hair and a voice that went high when he got excited. Some students, he said, would struggle to look one another in the eye and deal with basic social issues because they had become so accustomed to handling those interactions in digital bursts.
“One time, a student came up to me and said, ‘Dr. Nass, that was really hard!’” he related, describing a conversation that took place after one face-to-face day. The student asked him: “‘What should I do to make it easier?’”
And Dr. Nass, his voice rising to the point of cracking and breaking into a laugh, said he told her: “You ought to try doing it more often!”
Stanford News Service said that Dr. Nass collapsed during a hike on Saturday. He was 55.
Dr. Nass did far more than make students interact. He did pioneering work on multitasking and its impact on behavior and the brain. He participated in groundbreaking work that showed that people who regularly multitasked tended actually to be less good at juggling tasks then people who were light multitaskers. He theorized that heavy multitasking made people worse at juggling tasks because it prompted them to have shorter attention spans — although his experiments did not prove whether heavy multitasking caused short attention spans or if people prone to multitasking had shorter attention spans to begin with.
David Strayer, a neuroscientist at the University of Utah who studies the dangers of multitasking while driving, told me that “Cliff was one of the most creative and enthusiastic people I’ve met,” and that he was “instrumental in helping us understand how modern technology is changing who and what we are.”
Dr. Nass was recently studying whether heavy use of digital communication tools — including texting, Facebook and other media — was hampering empathy. A basic human ability is reading one another’s faces, which helps people deal with confrontation and conflict in an immediate and healthy way. Without basic day-to-day interaction, he theorized, people would begin to lose their ability to deal ably with challenging situations, big and small.
Obsessive, Compulsive, Impulsive, and Passive Aggressive Behavior
by James Kent
Chapter 27: Psychedelic Information Theory
There are volumes that can be written on compulsive personality disorders; in fact I have compulsively rewritten this chapter so many times you might say I have become obsessive about trying to cover it all. Alternately, there have been periods of times where I passive-aggressively avoided even thinking about this chapter because the topic is so complex as to be overwhelming. There is so much to say about the emotional spectrum that encompasses obsessive-compulsive, impulsive, and passive-aggressive behaviors: There's the clinical definitions; the psychopharmacology; the ego structures that create inner conflict between primal compulsion and learned repression; not to mention the extreme range of strange behaviors elicited while under the influence of psychedelics, which could easily fill an encyclopedia of strange behavior. But I lump all of these conditions together because they all have a similar theme: they represent people acting out of character, with limited rationality, typically driven by subconscious forces they don't fully understand. All human behavior is a balancing act between primal compulsions and civilized repression, and walking this behavioral tight-rope is commonly referred to as "behaving like a normal person," something we are all trained to do as young children. But when we lose the ability to perform this balancing act between compulsion and repression we develop what are called "problem" behaviors, behaviors which often get lumped into the obsessive, compulsive, impulsive, and passive-aggressive categories.
As I discussed in earlier, there is strong evidence that an individual's feelings of contentment, confidence, safety, and well-being are all modulated by the balance of serotonin in the brain, and it is safe to assume that anything that disrupts the action of seratonin uptake in the brain (such as psychedelics) will most-likely upset that general sense of well-being. And naturally, when a person's sense of well-being is disrupted, and that disruption is then distorted through an amplifying lens, that person may react in strange and compulsive ways in an attempt to right that dramatic imbalance. These actions may take the form of overtly uncharacteristic behaviors; impulsive behaviors; circular or obsessively repetitious behaviors; avoidance behaviors; passively withdrawn behaviors; or the complete inability to deal with anything. I could try to put clinical labels on all these behaviors, call them compulsive or passive aggressive or passive avoidance or whatever you want, but the truth is that it is difficult to lump all of these erratic behaviors together into one single label or category. What I can is say that these strange behaviors are common, that they happen on almost every trip, and they manifest in direct response to anxiety generated within the psychedelic state. These erratic behaviors may range from mild to extreme, but every psychedelic explorer should be warned of these side effects and understand that there is a very real possibility that any one or any number of these behaviors could spontaneously erupt on your typical psychedelic trip.
Obsessive Compulsive Behavior
Throughout the course of this text I have talked about the cyclical "traps" of psychedelic use; recursive loops, anxiety spirals, infinite analytical regressions, and so on. All of these traps are based on the notion of repetition and feedback, of being stuck in an infinite loop of perception and ideation, replaying the same thought or behavior over and over through endless permutations, ad infinitum. There are many good visual and audio metaphors for runaway feedback in the psychedelic state — fractals, echoes, video feedback, audio feedback, audio delay, visual trails, etc. — but the best behavioral metaphor for this cyclical processing trap is obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD: The pathological need to repeat the same thought or task over and over again.
While the common perception of OCD tends towards people who compulsively eat, shop, gamble, masturbate, or wash their hands (or whatever), the truth is that OCD manifests in almost every person in some way or another in some point in their lives. Some might argue that because we get hungry or sleepy every few hours that eating and sleeping are de facto compulsions we are obsessive about, but technically OCD is not diagnosed as a disorder unless the compulsive activity has reached a point where it becomes unhealthy or disrupts the activities of a normal life. OCD activities are almost always tied to biologically driven reward behaviors like eating, mating, hoarding, and hygiene. Alcoholism and drug addiction are also closely related to OCD, even though they are not strictly based on compulsions of organism survival. However, addictive drugs tend to effortlessly satisfy and suppress the base biological compulsions that lead to OCD, so self-medicating and addiction/reward behavior are also intimately linked to this disorder. From a clinical standpoint, OCD is suspected to involve both the serotonin uptake system and the dopamine reward system, meaning that people with OCD feel compelled to perform a specific task to feel "better" (correct a seratonin imbalance), but get no lasting feeling of completion or satisfaction when they do (insufficient dopamine reward). This imbalance creates a loop of repetitive behaviors that keep the subject mindlessly occupied in seeking the rewarding behavior (food, money, sex, cleanliness, etc.) without ever feeling that the task has been sufficiently completed.
For the sake of clarifying definitions when it comes to behavioral types, it is safe to say that people who are serious about psychedelics tend to become obsessive about their drug use; they study psychedelic lore and spend long periods of time planning and analyzing their psychedelic trips. However, it is the uncommon few who are actually compulsive about their psychedelic use, meaning that they must take psychedelics all the time because they just can't help themselves. This is almost never the case, and psychedelics are not traditionally addictive drugs in that they do not effortlessly fulfill base biological compulsions for quick pleasure and reward; the opposite is true. If anything, psychedelics tend to exacerbate existing compulsions and make people obsess more, but this is certainly not always the case. If used in the right clinical or shamanic setting, psychedelics can actually interrupt pre-existing cycles of obsession and compulsion and act as short-term "cures" for OCD and addiction. But when taken in less structured environments there is a good chance psychedelics will produce OCD-like behaviors or exacerbate preexisting OCD conditions, particularly in the earlier parts of the trip.
For instance, I was home alone one weekend, and since it had been a while since my last trip I decided that I would take a small dose of LSD and simply enjoy the afternoon. My plan was to turn off the phone and relax, maybe spend some time in the garden, maybe have dinner and watch a movie later, nothing big. I had straightened up all the clutter before I took the LSD, but now that I was coming on my senses were sharper and I could see all the grime built up on the floors and walls. Sticky spots on the floor sprang out at me; dark smudges and fingerprints trailed across the walls (how long had they been there?); layers of dust crept across all the surfaces; and there was a strong urine stench coming from the bathroom (ugh, the bathroom was unbearable!). Anyway, the fact that there hadn't been a good housecleaning in few months screamed at me and compelled me to spend the entire day cleaning the house, up and down, top to bottom, scrubbing, mopping, sweeping, dusting, the works. I became a total house-wife on crack. I couldn't stop. As I sat hunched on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor with a sponge I realized I was being silly, and I kept thinking that I should stop cleaning and go out to the garden and dig in the dirt for a while, but I couldn't stop. The thought of digging in the garden outside while mildew forests continued to slime over my shower walls was unacceptable. I had to "fix it" before I could relax, and I did not relax for the entire trip. I cleaned right through the LSD peak, stopping later in the day to eat dinner, drink many beers, clean more, and finally collapse into a stupor in front of the TV late in the evening. I never stepped foot out the door that day, nor got to any of the other things I had planned for the weekend, but my house was now spotless and spring fresh. It had been an obsessive-compulsive housecleaning trip, and it came out of nowhere. The irony was that when I finally got my consciousness elevated I realized that I was living in filth. What else could I do?
Obsessive-compulsive disorders can appear in many forms throughout the course of a psychedelic session, most commonly in the obsessive repetition of thoughts, speech, and behaviors, sometimes referred to as "thought loops" or "ticks" that get stuck in your brain and just keep spinning round and round. While obsessive side effects from psychedelics may be more fleeting and scattered that those of classic OCD disorders, there are definitely obsessive trips that exactly mirror classic OCD with the constant need to repeat particular thoughts, phrases, or behaviors. These behaviors can be as mild as rocking back and forth while turning the same melody over and over and over in your head, or they can be as extreme as scratching one spot until it bleeds, shaving off all of your body hair, or something similarly gruesome. The spectrum of compulsive behaviors ranges from harmless to violent, and hand-washing, rocking, or tune-humming is a long way from self-mutilation or violent acting out. Understanding the difference between fleeting compulsions, obsessive compulsions, and self-destructive compulsions is really the key here. Fleeting compulsions are typically harmless and to be expected; obsessive compulsions stick with you and get stronger, compelling you to act on them until you break the obsessive cycle; and self-destructive compulsions force you to act irrationally against your own best interests. It goes without saying that once someone begins acting violent and irrational that the party is over. Although it is rare, it does happen. High doses of psychedelics can be extremely dangerous, and anyone who experiments with psychedelics or who "baby sits" for someone on psychedelic drugs should fully understand this spectrum of compulsive behavior and be prepared to deal with violent freak-outs before going into high-dose territory with novice users.
Although obsessive ideation can also apply to pleasing thoughts and sensations, it is typically the "bummers" that are remembered in terms of being "trapped" or "stuck in a loop." Being stuck in a loop of house-cleaning or ecstatic bliss may not be as traumatic as, say, being stuck in a loop of murderous paranoia, but the psychedelic mind can lock onto any obsession without warning, and the catalyst or object of the obsessive psychedelic spiral can be anything that grabs the subject's attention. This is an extremely important thing to remember when trying to help someone who is "stuck" in an unpleasant loop. Attempting to interrupt obsessive ideation in the middle of a psychedelic trip is essentially trying to fight upstream against pharmacology. Obsessive bummers must either "run their course" or be derailed and moved sideways into another obsessive trip centered on a new, less-traumatic topic. The task of "talking down" a person who is having a bummer on psychedelics is not about trying to convince them they are wrong to be obsessive about something, it is more a challenge of keeping them preoccupied with new tangents and thoughts that move them progressively away from the locus of the negative obsession and towards something more positive. The meat of this task can be summed up in a phrase I heard one tripping friend jokingly say to another who was having a hard time: "Don't think about the dead puppy. Here, smell this flower." This was a joke, of course, there was no dead puppy, but the levity of the comment lightened everyone's mood instantly. When confronting situations like these, absurdity and humor often work better than logic.
Compulsive & Impulsive Ideation
I can't positively say that everyone who takes psychedelics has obsessive or impulsive ideas on every trip, but I can honestly say that most people who experiment with psychedelics have at least a few mildly bizarre compulsions come to them at some time or another. At the extreme end these compulsions can be grandiose, superhuman, and absurd (feeling you are indestructible; running around naked claiming you are Jesus; etc.), but the more disturbing psychedelic themes include graphic sexual ideation; violent ideation; excessive morbidity; and grotesque ideation. For instance, one friend told me about an LSD trip where he could not shake the idea of cutting his friend's fingers off. His friend had done nothing to offend him, and he had no idea why he felt that way, he just really felt the urge to cut her fingers off and couldn't stop thinking about it. The fact that he initially had the idea to cut off his friend's fingers really disturbed him, and once the thought entered his mind he could not shake it: it haunted him. Instead of laughing it off or forgetting it, he obsessed over the fact that he might be a psychopath, or that deep down he really wanted to hurt his friend, and that he couldn't trust his own thoughts or actions. This is a prime example of how psychedelics can turn a fleeting notion into an obsessive spiral that imprints strongly on memory, affecting you long after the trip itself is over.
I must say that I have never been driven to shave my head or mutilate myself or anything of that kind while under the influence of psychedelics, but I can say honestly that I have certainly thought about some crazy things. I realized very early on in my psychedelic experimentation that I should just expect random crazy thoughts and compulsions to pop into my head at any time, and that this is pretty much par for the course when working with these substances. This did not keep me from feeling compulsions while on psychedelics, but it did help me learn to question my actions before doing anything too stupid. For instance, while on psychedelics I have occasionally found myself doing strange things that I would not normally do, like hiking off of a marked trail and down into a steep ravine just because I wanted to get to the river down below, or climbing a sheer rock face freehand with no tools just to see if I could do it. But when I found myself halfway up the rock face staring down at the jagged rocks below, I realized there was no way I would ever attempt to climb the rock face sober because it was crazy. I wasn't even wearing the right shoes, I could have easily slipped and fallen. I knew that if I got to the top it would be one of the greatest experiences of my life, but I also realized that I was being stupid and was risking my life for no good reason, so I climbed down. It sounds silly in retrospect, but events like this one helped make it a rule for me early-on that I would never attempt death-defying feats while high on psychedelics, it just seemed like a good rule of thumb.
Avoiding potential death situations on psychedelics should be a no-brainer, but let's go back to the example of walking off a marked trail and heading down into a steep ravine just to get to the river. Is that technically death-defying, or is that just exploring the boundaries of known reality? There is a fine line here that is difficult to describe, but there is that point in any psychedelic trip where you know you are about to do something you wouldn't normally do, but you decide to do it anyway because you just feel like doing it. There is something magical in that moment, it feels good to try something different and new and unknown. The compulsion can be to jump up and down, sing out, scream, roll on the floor, kiss a friend, have sex, go out for a walk, blaze a new trail, climb a rock, jump off a bridge... While jumping off a bridge is a compulsion that should obviously be avoided, acting on "lesser" or "harmless" compulsions is a trickier topic. On one hand, the very reason people take psychedelics is to push boundaries, have new experiences, and explore the unknown, so when you find yourself on psychedelics exploring the unknown and having new experiences, then good for you, it worked! But if you go so far off the map that your behavior becomes irresponsible and dangerous, then what? You become the victim of psychedelic irrationality, are at the mercy of your compulsions, and could possibly even wind up a statistic. So where do you draw the line here?
I could put in a little mini sermon about the risks and rewards of psychedelics; the chance and consequence of compulsive behavior; the synchronicity and jazz of acting in the moment; but the bottom line is that you need to expect compulsive thoughts and be prepared to deal with them when you take psychedelics. It is very hard to keep a "level head" when high on psychedelics, but knowing your boundaries before you start your trip is a big part of being able to draw the line between playful exploration and stepping into the danger zone while you are high. And everyone's boundaries are different, so be honest with what you expect from your exploration. For instance, some people are sexually promiscuous on psychedelics, others refrain from casual sexual contact on psychedelics because they feel the risk is too great. Some people are comfortable going out in public or going to a show under the influence of psychedelics, others always stay isolated or among a small group of people because being high in a crowd of strangers is just completely out of the question. Everyone has a comfort level about being to act like a "normal person" while under the influence of psychedelics, and knowing your optimum dose range is a big part of establishing your personal comfort zone. Although I don't know of any dose-response studies which specifically cover impulsive ideation and compulsive behavior, I suspect that impulsive ideation starts at fairly low doses, but compulsive behavior starts at the higher ranges when the rational cortex is almost fully offline. Thus, the more you go over your known dose level and comfort zone, the more likely you are to do something impulsive that you may regret later.
Passive Aggressive Behavior
Passive aggressive behavior on psychedelics is very common, and can be viewed in a number of ways, both personal and intrapersonal. On the personal level, the act of warping reality and drugging yourself into dreamlike stupor is an inherently passive-aggressive act against the self, against society, and against the entire fabric of the universe itself. It would be wrong to classify all psychedelic use this way, but the escapist, passive-aggressive avoidance of real-life issues in favor of fantastical mind-blowing entheogenic quests is one of the more common traps of novice psychedelic use. The argument between psychedelics as tool of personal enlightenment vs. psychedelics as tool of social subversion can be made back and forth all day, but my point here is that psychedelics can be used to explore the self in positive ways as well as to escape reality in negative ways, and from my estimation psychedelic use in modern times is as often "negative" as it is "positive."
Butting getting beyond the question of whether drug use is passive-aggressive behavior in and of itself, the question of passive-aggressive behavior exhibited while under the influence of psychedelics should be explored in some detail. Passive-aggression can be defined in a number of ways: avoidance of certain people or situations; fear of confrontation or failure; a grudging unwillingness to do what you are "supposed" to do; using lies or misdirection to avoid doing certain things or talking about certain subjects; having constant unspoken feelings of marginalization and victimization; etc. Most passive-aggressive behavior is based on natural fears of conflict, imposed authority, and rejection. When the moody teenager refuses to take out the trash after his mother has asked him to do so multiple times, the teen is not only being lazy, the teen is passive-aggressively confronting the imposed authority structure of the nuclear family. When the overworked manager begins letting his job performance slip in order to make his boss look bad, it is not because of a lack of care or ability to do the job, it is because the overworked manager is angry at the imposed authority structure, is passive-aggressively avoiding the conflict of confronting his boss outright, and is passive-aggressively avoiding the potential rejection of being denied a raise or being reprimanded for poor performance. In other words, it is natural for passive-aggressive behavior to be exhibited in any kind of relationship where there is a tacit imposed power structure, which includes just about every human relationship that ever existed.
Passive-aggressive behavior is very common in group psychedelic trips, even in small groups among close friends, and this is for a variety of reasons. Even in underground psychedelic groups there is a tacit power structure which defines who the leaders are, who sets the agenda, who the newbies are, who distributes the drugs, etc. This is all very common and natural. However, when all these different energies come together in a group psychedelic session, everything becomes exaggerated and emotionally charged at the exact same time that people are beginning to feel socially awkward and are unable to verbally express what they feel. If you take the general sense of anxiety and paranoia caused by psychedelics and add a layer of group power dynamics and communication breakdown on top of that, it is no wonder that some people on psychedelics become extremely withdrawn and frustrated around other people. And when a person on psychedelics withdraws and is unable to adequately verbalize what they are feeling, they may begin to feel awkward and angry, and may begin to blame a person or persons within the group for their personal sense of unease. This is paranoid passive-aggressive ideation in a nutshell. Even in clinical settings or in cases where there is a "guide" or "baby sitter" present, passive-aggressive ideation can still be focused at the power structure implied by that dynamic.
The results of spontaneous feelings of passive-aggression on a psychedelic trip can vary wildly, but they usually end up in bummers, emotional outbursts, or messy interpersonal confrontations of some kind. As an example I will relate the story of a friend who started a huge fight with his girlfriend because she was dancing at a party. Why was he mad at her for dancing? Because he wasn't dancing. Conversely, while he was mad at her for dancing, she was mad at him for sulking in the corner. The fact that they were both coming up on LSD at the time did not help this misunderstanding, it exacerbated it. Each one thought the other was acting stupid, yet neither wanted to confront the other because they were trying to act cool. The silent feud lasted until the boyfriend stomped across the floor and began to drag his girlfriend away while they were both starting to peak. As you might imagine there was much yelling and arguing over the next half-hour or so, but once things calmed down they were back to normal, making up, and realizing how stupid they had been. They were literally never more than twenty feet apart the whole night, but somewhere along the line they had each decided that the other had abandoned them. How did that happen? They were both passive-aggressively angry at the other for trying to impose relationship authority over each other; one wanted to dance, the other did not want to dance. The avoidance of this conflict and fear of rejection made the situation even worse, and the LSD simply put it over the top.
This kind of misunderstanding between dating partners is surely not proprietary to psychedelics; the same misunderstanding could have happened without the LSD, maybe substituting alcohol consumption for LSD with a similar outcome. However, the danger with psychedelics is that they exacerbate the passive-aggressive cycle by internalizing the anxiety and warping it to cartoonish extremes. To hear my friend describe the evening, his girlfriend was literally humping every guy on the dance floor, but nothing of the kind happened. He let his anger turn his girlfriend's dancing into an explicit sexual betrayal in his own mind, complete with instantaneous Technicolor porn reels spinning through his brain as he wallowed in self pity. He saw photo-realistic animated cartoons of his girlfriend having sweaty, dance-throbbing sex with all the other men (and women) on the dance floor in an orgy of writhing human bodies, but this was all happening in his own mind, of course. This is what I mean when I say psychedelics can exaggerate even little things to cartoonish extremes: You literally get the extreme cartoon version of your thoughts delivered into your brain as you think it. This vivid expression of your worst-fears-come-true coupled with the inability to formulate an appropriate rational response to the situation will almost always lead to an obsessive spiral that makes the anxiety grow until the cycle is broken.
The key to overcoming runaway passive-aggressive ideation in the psychedelic state is first understanding that this is another inwardly-spiraling cyclical trap, and that the inability to rationally express your unease or confront your fear only makes it worse. In group situations, it often helps to get right past the language barrier and start communicating solely by sound and touch, using singing, rhythms, tonal gibberish, hugging, holding hands, massage, supportive touching, and other methods to make everyone within the group feel trusting and secure with each other. This is why psychedelic groups (or tribes) that trip together often get very "touchy-feely" with each other; when forming tight tribal bonds it is necessary to get beyond words to make sure everyone understands how everyone else "feels" so that no one "feels" left out. Some of you may read the term "touchy feely" as a euphemism for "sexually promiscuous," and I cannot deny that intimate touching often leads to sex, especially on psychedelics, but this is why you set boundaries before you trip with a group of people instead of trying to figure it out on the fly. The intensity of emotional sharing that takes place in group psychedelic sessions can quickly lead to a level of intimacy never achieved with other humans. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on the outcome of the particular trip and how you feel on the other side. Emotional outbursts or passive withdrawals are not always bad things either. If you are truly feeling victimized then an emotional outburst can be very cleansing and cathartic, but much like unexpected physical intimacy, emotional outbursts often change the parameters of existing relationships, so be careful of extremes in whichever direction you go. If you are unable to deal with the intensity of the experience, then passive-aggressively withdrawing from group intimacy or avoiding psychedelics altogether is a natural resistance to changing the status quo of your existing relationships.
As mentioned earlier, much of the passive aggressive and obsessive side-effects of psychedelics can be mitigated by dosing in concert with MDMA, also known as candyflipping. A simple hit of ecstasy will turn a group of tripping, passive-aggressive, inwardly-obsessive mopers into a gaggle of touchy-feely, giggling gropers in under an hour, so there is a definite case to be made here for the role of seratonin supply in mediating internalized obsessions and passive-aggressive avoidance behaviors. However, the MDMA will do little or nothing to stop compulsive ideation and impulsive behaviors, in fact the hedonic nature of MDMA could very well exacerbate compulsions directly linked to pleasure and reward, so be warned. Someone who is obsessive about their psychedelic use will know in advance the precise dose range of any given chemical or cocktail needed to achieve their desired state, and the idea of setting a "comfort zone" between proper dosage and appropriate behavior should be second-nature to anyone who experiments with psychedelics. Getting familiar with your feelings and knowing your comfort zone is essential to minimizing negative outcomes on psychedelics. This advice may seem obvious, but it really comes down to being smart enough to not take more substance than you are ready to handle. Disregarding this rule and taking heroic doses of unfamiliar substances can be seen as an act of aggression towards the self. If you disregard your own safety and do not care what happens to you, you are most likely going to do something foolish.
The Anxiety Disorders Education Program is a national education campaign developed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to increase awareness among the public and health care professionals that anxiety disorders are real medical illnesses that can be effectively diagnosed and treated.
More than 19 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, which include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias and generalized anxiety disorder. They suffer from symptoms that are chronic, unremitting and usually grow progressively worse if left untreated. Tormented by panic attacks, irrational thoughts and fears, compulsive behaviors or rituals, flashbacks, nightmares, or countless frightening physical symptoms, people with anxiety disorders are heavy utilizers of emergency rooms and other medical services. Their work, family and social lives are disrupted, and some even become housebound. Many of them have co-occuring disorders such as depression, alcohol or drug abuse, or other mental disorders. Because of widespread lack of understanding and the stigma associated with these disorders, many people with anxiety disorders are not diagnosed and are not receiving treatments that have been proven effective through research.
A reader from America , July 2, 1999
Excellent! A DYI approach to OCD and related disorders.
A friend gave me this book and it is excellent. If you have OCD or even a related disorder it gives you a practical approach to learning to deal with and outsmart your disorder.
Take me, frinstance, while I do not have any checking compulsions, I have suffered from anxiety disorder and occasionally intrusive, disturbing thoughts for a number of years. (Other than that I am your regular guy, you wouldn't know I had a disorder if you saw me).
This book gives you a 4-step method of "reframing" OCD in a way that makes it manageable. Ultimately, the authors say, by using their method you can "retrain your brain" and actually alter your brain chemistry in a positive direction and thus reduce the original symptoms to something liveable.
Buy it (or have a friend give it to you...) :-)
A reader from Santa Fe, NM , July 16, 1998
A good description of the problem and some solutions
This book contains well-written descriptions of obsessive-compulsive disorder -- it's informative, clear, and a pleasure to read. And for those of us who either suffer from these disorders or are close to someone who does, it's an eye-opener: you are NOT the only person who's ever had to deal with this problem, and there IS hope for curing it! For all these reasons, I highly recommend the book. Two cautions, however:
(1) The book gave a good description of the ways of treating OCD as of the date it was written. Since then, however, there have been many new developments, so, if you're specifically interested in treatments, you'll need to look up some more recent books and articles.
(2) "Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder" (OCPD) is a related but different condition, and it's possible that someone who exhibits similar symptoms but doesn't have full-blown OCD suffers from this instead. (My mother has never gone in for compulsive hand-washing, but she's rigid, intolerant, controlling, and a pack rat on a truly monumental scale. That's OCPD.)
The treatments for the two conditions differ -- drugs are more helpful for OCD than OCPD, for example. As with any mental condition, it's absolutely necessary to have a thorough professional diagnosis; don't just march into your doctor's office demanding Prozac, or stock up on St. John's Wort at your local herbalist's.
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The Last but not Least
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Last updated: February 21, 2017