A pertinent question-and-answer guide to obsessive-compulsive disorder for teenagers by a teenager.
High school senior St. John showed signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder as early as age 5, when he suffered a brief bout of uncontrollable hand-washing, and his OCD worsened and became predominantly sexual once he reached puberty. After describing his symptoms and their disabling impact on his life, the author divides the rest of the book into 34 brief chapters, each of which asks and answers a question about OCD of interest to any teenager afflicted. St. John addresses whether sufferers will pass on OCD to their kids, if medication can help with the problem and how teens can move on after being diagnosed. The tone throughout is conversational, as one teen speaking to other teens, and the author admits that teenagers are likely to read only the Q&A chapters of interest to them, rather than reading the book cover to cover. Due to the nature of his OCD, several of the chapters contain sexually explicit material, but the overall effect is one of frankness and vulnerability rather than prurience. Instead of sugarcoating the exposure-and-response prevention therapy that the author undertook with the help of his mother—a pediatrician who also manifests signs of OCD—St. John makes crystal clear the difficulty of the treatment: “It is hard work, and you will hate it. You will want to quit and go back to your OCD even though it keeps you down.” However, the book offers a measure of hope for other teenagers with OCD: “I know that with time, patience, and perseverance you will take back your life from OCD,” St. John says in his concluding chapter. “I did.”
For teenagers with OCD and their loved ones, this one-of-a-kind book provides useful answers and heartfelt encouragement.