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OCD Info on the Web

Interesting, Related Links on the Web

The following are some of the best academic, commercial, and scientific and advocacy web sites I’ve encountered — ones that might interest persons with obsessive-compulsive disorder and all others interested in psychiatry, psychology and the brain/mind:

International OCD Foundation (www.ocfoundation.org)
This is the best first stop for those interested in researching what OCD is, available treatments, and identifying qualified treatment providers. The website is quite comprehensive and it includes extensive links to articles and materials on OCD, trichotillomania, hoarding, listings of OCD support groups, treatment providers and facilities, a copy of the latest IOCDF Foundation Newsletter, a live chat area, book reviews and audio/video tapes on OCD. It is a “must read” among OCD related sites on the web.

The National Institute of Health Clinical Trials Website (www.clinicaltrials.gov)
One of the best sources of inexpensive or even free treatment for OCD and anxiety disorders is through the auspices of  clinical research programs being conducted by major universities throughout the country. In the past, it was often difficult for patients to find out information about clinical trials being conducted around the country. The website www.ClinicalTrials.gov provides regularly updated information about federally and privately supported clinical research in human volunteers for every physical and mental disorder. ClinicalTrials.gov gives you information about a clinical trial’s purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details. The information provided on ClinicalTrials.gov should be used in conjunction with advice from health care professionals.

Mental Health Infosource (www.mhsource.com)
This comprehensive site, published by CME, Inc.and the Psychiatric Times has a wide range of information on mental disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder, columns by Peter Kramer, M.D. (who wrote “Listening to Prozac”) and other reputable psychiatrists, extensive listings of mental health organizations, providers, managed care companies, federal and state mental health agencies. It includes a huge list of links to online resources listed by disorder and/or issues related to mental health. While the only OCD related link is limited to one fine article on Body Dysmorphic Disorder (which can be read for continuing medical education credits) by Katherine Phillips, M.D., the sheer number of links to mental health related topics is truly impressive.

Mental Health Net (www.cmhc.com)
No matter what your area of interest, you’re likely to find a good starting point through this huge guide of resources. Mental Health Net features an internal search engine to make finding information quick and easy. This huge web site with over 4112 resources, is organized into five main areas: the Reading Room, Professional Resources, Mental Health Administration, Self-help Resources, and Other Links. A really fine feature is a calendar of conferences and meetings that enables the user to search for events nationwide on a topic of interest. So say you are planning a vacation in May to Vancouver and wish to combine touring with professional education. You can use this feature to locate a nearby meeting of interest to you. Resources here are updated weekly, so frequent return visits are often rewarding.

Psych Central – Dr. John Grohol’s Mental Health Page (www.grohol.com)
This Web site describes itself as “your personalized one-stop index for psychology, support, and mental health issues, resources, and people on the Internet.” One of this site’s best features is a link to the “Suicide Helpline” which includes “The Samaritans” – a non-religious charity offering emotional support to the suicidal and despairing for over 40 years by phone, visit, letter, and most recently, E-mail. Trained volunteers read and reply to mail once a day, every day of the year. A “Mental disorder symptom list” is a useful reference listing all of the major mental disorders (including, of course, OCD) and their primary diagnostic symptoms. Dr. Grohol also includes live interactive chat featuring mental health, relationship and psychological issues. I will be discussing the use of IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, in my next column so stay tuned.

Perspectives – An Online Mental Health Magazine (www.mhnet.org/perspectives)
Intelligent commentary regarding mental health related topics is the focus of “Perspectives.” Billed as “An Online Mental Health Magazine,” the articles by various reputable mental health professionals include “Prozac and Political Activism,” “The Importance of Understanding Loneliness,” and “How Managed Care is Dividing the Mental Health Community.” The articles are for the most part well-written and thought-provoking.

Behavior Online (www.behavior.net)
Behavior OnLine bills itself as the “gathering place” for professionals in the behavioral science and related fields. It makes good on its mission, offering not only in-depth conversation with some of the leading theorists and therapists in the mental health field today, but also a place for professionals to interact directly with each other, discussing issues, ideas and theories. Examples of the various discussions include creative arts therapy, cognitive therapy, anxiety disorders, evolutionary psychology, outcome assessment in therapy, among many others. Each discussion is moderated by an expert in their respective field of psychology/psychiatry. This is one of most well-designed and graphically-pleasing sites on the Web today.

Internet Mental Health (www.mentalhealth.com)
Internet Mental Health is another mega web site that is described as “a free encyclopedia of mental health information.” Designed by a Canadian psychiatrist, Dr. Phillip Long, and software designer Brian Chow, the idea of creating the site resulted from a Canada-Japan Mental Health Exchange in 1994 – an international effort to improve mental health services worldwide. During that exchange, it was concluded that there was a great need in Japan for free access to information about mental health topics. Thus, the idea of IMH was born. The site includes a comprehensive guide to all mental disorders, including information on diagnosis and treatment. Included for each article are scholarly articles, research reports, and informational booklets for patients and families. The OCD section, while not exhaustive, includes many fine research abstracts from scientists worldwide.

Charles A. Dana foundation for Brain Research (www.dana.org)
The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives is an independent non-profit organization of more than 150 preeminent neuroscientists. Supported by the Charles A. Dana Foundation, the sole commitment of the Dana Alliance is to educate the public about the personal and public benefits of brain research. This is a fascinating site also includes the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives – a partnership with the National Institutes of Health, academic research institutions, professional scientific organizations, and volunteer agencies from across the country.

Anxiety Disorders Association of America (www.adaa.org)
The ADAA, a national non-profit organization, is the largest national organization devoted to “the prevention and cure of anxiety disorders and to improve the lives of all people who suffer from them.” Founded in 1980, its members are individuals with anxiety disorders, clinicians and researchers who study and treat anxiety disorders, and other interested individuals. Over the past five years, OCD has received an increasing focus by the ADAA. This recently renovated site is an excellent store house of information on anxiety disorders, self-help and community treatment resources.

Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University (www.bu.edu/cpr)
An interactive and informative web site for people with a psychiatric condition that addresses issues and reasonable accommodations related to work and school. This is the only site designed exclusively to provide information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other employment and education issues for people with psychiatric disabilities. An excellent resource.

Ontario Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Network (www.oocdn.org)
The OOCDN is a non-profit support network created for people with OCD, by people with OCD. Based in Ontario, Canada, the Network offers resources from self-help to professional, and current topical information for both adults and children with OCD, and information for members of their family. In addition, there is also information on other conditions such as Tourettes Syndrome and Trichotillomania. If you are in Canada and looking for information and/or resources on these or other anxiety disorders, visit this site!

Self-Injurious Skin Picking Website – How to Make Peace With Yourself and Heal the Nervous Obsessive Compulsive Habit of Skin and Acne Picking ( www.selfinjuriousskinpicking.com)
This website is for people who pick at their faces, pick at pimples, pick at cuticles, pick at split ends, pick at in-grown hairs, and scabs. The website addresses the problem of Compulsive and Self Injurious Skin Picking (SISP) and (according to the author) “presents important information about the disorder and the recovery process in a friendly, matter of fact way from the perspective of one who has suffered and conquered the same affliction. If offers strength, hope and love for the reader. It provides reliable background information as well as specific approaches and steps the reader can take to conquer their problem.

Solutions for Wellness – Free online tools to achieve a healthier lifestyle (www.recoverywithingreach.org)
This site offers OCD and sufferers of all psychiatric disorders a free personalized program for achieving effective improvements in weight loss, nutrition, sleep, stress management and overall health. If you wish, you can have your physician monitor your progress in the program via email updates.

OCD-UK (www.ocduk.org)
OCD-UK is a brand new charity, which has been founded in England for people who are affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) worldwide. They aim to bring the facts about OCD to the public and to support those who suffer in silence from this often debilitating anxiety disorder. There is lots of solid information about treatment, and has many very good links to resources. I particularly like the section devoted to how to start and maintain a support group.

BrainPhysics OCD Mental Health Resource (www.brainphysics.com)
The BrainPhysics OCD site offers information and support for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related mental health concerns, such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and body-focused repetitive behaviors. Included are articles, books, discussion forum, online help, and personal stories. Special sections include resources for people with religious and sexual obsessions and information for treatment-resistant OCD.

Chat Site – Stuck in a Doorway (www.stuckinadoorway.co.uk)
This is an excellent, moderated online chat site for OCD sufferers, based in the UK. It has rather large number of sufferers of pure obsessions. It is ably moderated with compassion and solid information.

The OCD Education Station (ocdeducationstation.org) is the first and only web site focused exclusively on the provision of help to students, teachers, school social workers and a host of other school personnel involved in educating and caring for school children trying to cope with the burdens of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The site has been painstakingly crafted to speak with an educator’s voice and addresses the relevant issues through the prism of the school professional and the environment in which he or she will encounter both the child and the factors that exacerbate and mitigate the challenges of OCD. Every page and every publication is either printable or downloadable at no cost to those who visit. Should you find yourself on our main web site, an icon for School Personnel will bring you directly to the OCD Education Station with no need to leave the site or type new urls.

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