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Once again I became prisoner of my OCD and anxiety

It’s not very often that you come across a product that is unique and innovative and brings something new to the table.

Pulling the Trigger: OCD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Related Depression – The Definitive Survival and Recovery Approach is such a product, a book that stands out from the plethora of recent books about OCD because it combines a first-hand experience of life with OCD and the suffering that comes with it, alongside therapeutic explanations by the very therapist that helped that person recover.

Unlike previous books which use case studies fleetingly, by remaining with Adam’s story from beginning to end it offers context to how the OCD impacts on Adam and allows the reader to fully understand not just the OCD symptoms but how Adam was feeling. With Lauren’s narration about each aspect of Adam’s journey it really gives that fantastic insight into what was going on and where Adam was going wrong (the mistakes we ALL make when trying to live with OCD).

Reading the book, at times it almost felt like I was sitting in and observing an actual therapy session between the authors, Adam Shaw and Dr Lauren Callaghan and that is precisely what makes this a unique and innovative addition to anybody’s bookshelf of OCD titles.

Many people with OCD mistakenly perhaps pigeon hole themselves with one ‘sub-type’ of OCD, in the majority of cases most people with OCD that spans multiple years, like Adam will find through time that their OCD will shift between obsessive fears and take many guises. This is exactly what happens to Adam, which Lauren addresses throughout the book.

Adam’s quality of life became severely disrupted by OCD, to quote him “once again I became prisoner of my OCD and anxiety”

But through the help of the fantastic therapist Dr Lauren Callaghan, Adam was slowly able to move forward towards his goal of recovery.   It was not easy, and Adam deserves credit for sticking at the therapy.

Throughout the book the therapeutic concept being used is entirely Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) principles, just like Lauren mentions in the opening pages. However, by using the Accept, Embrace and Control non-clinical terminology, the teaching is much more likely to be an effective way to engage readers to take control of their own OCD.

Don’t get me wrong, Lauren is not trying to reinvent the wheel, she is simply using non-clinical terminology that I believe will be incredibly effective and easier for readers to grasp the CBT concepts.

The book comes in two parts. The first part is primarily focusing on Adam’s life and journey living with and later, challenging his OCD which is entwined with Lauren offering her therapeutic input. The second part is written by Lauren, more of a self-help workbook for people struggling with OCD, with Adam summarising each chapter with his own thoughts and relating that to his own story.

Unlike other OCD books this book also addresses depression and panic attacks which are sadly often co-morbid with OCD. Adam also addressed the important point of fitness and well-being from eating well.

One of the final chapters is written by Adam’s wife, Alissa. Whilst Lauren and Adam mention reassurance in the earlier chapters, I think Alissa perhaps offers some of the most practical advice for loved ones in how to deal with reassurance. Let’s be clear, when the inevitable problem of reassurance crops up of offering someone with OCD reassurance, because it does and it will become a problem, the clinical advice is not always easy to apply. Alissa makes some great practical suggestions.

Pulling the Trigger: OCD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Related Depression – The Definitive Survival and Recovery Approach brings a new and unique format to OCD books, and perhaps credit to Adam and Lauren (and Alissa) that I don’t think it is a format that just anyone would be able to write. This book will in all likelihood remain on my OCD bookshelf and recommended reading list for years to come.

Ashley Fulwood, Chairman, OCD-UK.org