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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
168 pages
Jun 2004
Regal Books

The Obsessive-Compulsive Trap

by Mark Crawford

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


I found myself obsessing over this book review. Just kidding.

In The Obsessive Compulsive Trap, author Dr. Mark Crawford explains the complexity of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I was particularly interested to learn that OCD is frequently misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Indeed, ADD and OCD often co-exist.

Genetic in nature, Crawford clarified, "OCD is a biological condition with specific abnormalities in certain regions of the brain and an imbalance in the neurotransmitter serotonin." Serotonin aids the thinking process and behavior control. A disorder of brain functioning, OCD is not unconscious conflicts, psychological weakness, demonic involvement, or spiritual oppression.       

People who suffer from OCD experience unwanted thoughts similar to a heckler heckling a batter at a baseball game. Obsessive thoughts and worries are similar to receiving mental junk mail or spam email.

The author described obsession as thoughts that result in compulsions that "must be done" in an attempt to decrease the anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts. These behaviors are done to 1) prevent something bad from happening (usually to family, close friends or themselves); 2) to undo the feeling associated with the obsession; 3) to minimize or temporarily eliminate the anxiety caused by the obsession.

Typically these behaviors must be done repeatedly in a sequence. Such time consuming rituals include tapping, tracing words, washing hands, walking through doorways or up and down stairs, and cause suffers to be chronically late or unable to participate in normal everyday life experiences such as school. Feeling trapped in this situation, many sufferers spiral down to depression.

Curious to see if I had OCD tendencies, I was surprised to find there are over 120 million people worldwide who are troubled by this neurological problem. Crawford's clever use of examples aid parents perplexed by their children's behavior to understand whether their children suffer from this.

I was encouraged to read that skilled therapy can make positive adjustments to the brain's serotonin levels. "OCD is a biological disorder that has nothing to do with one's spiritual condition, moral character, childhood issues, etc." Crawford wrote. Education is key for adolescents and adults. To younger children Crawford explains, "The OCD part of your brain tells you to worry and do those silly habits."

While the author insists OCD is not a spiritual condition, he personalizes the disorder as an "enemy" and encourages Christians to tackle this "Goliath" in their lives. As a Christian, I have personally found help in excellent secular and Christian counseling for issues other than OCD. Crawford encourages Christians not to be hesitant to benefit from excellent mental health professionals. The book is thorough, though occasional points are reiterated.

A small book, The Obsessive Compulsive Trap explores helpful medications, co-disorders, and therapy models. Jesus said He came to set the captives free. After raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus instructed bystanders to loose Lazarus from his bindings. I believe Crawford's book will help free many from the bondage of OCD.  – June Delahaye, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

The Obsessive-Compulsive Trap is a down-to-earth and informative resource on obsessive-compulsive disorder from a solid Christian perspective. Dr. Mark Crawford teaches how to diagnose OCD and describes the effects it has on more than 120 million people worldwide. Drawing from an expansive clinical background, he illustrates each chapter with clear examples of how men, women and children have found real solutions for dealing with OCD. It’s time to get informed and start making changes in society’s skewed understanding of this shattering disorder.