Psychologists at OCD Louisiana Hold Walk For Awareness Oct 20

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OCD Louisiana will hold the 2nd Annual 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk on October 20, at City Park  in New Orleans. OCD Louisiana is an official affiliate of the International OCD Foundation with the goal of furthering the Foundation’s mission in the state of Louisiana.

OCD Louisiana program’s aim is to support all those affected by OCD, and to further educate the greater community about what it means to live with OCD and/or a related disorder. Melissa Dufrene, PsyD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist with Algiers Neurobehavioral Resource and Secretary for OCD Louisiana said, “This is our first fully official walk as an IOCDF affiliate. We are thrilled to be establishing our organization in the community and we consider this to be the most basic step of doing so.”

OCD Louisiana’s President is Kristin Fitch, PhD, Vice-President is Leslie Higgins, PsyD, Treasurer is Michele Carroll, PsyD, and Secretary is Melissa Dufrene, Psy.D. Suzanne Chabaud, PhD and Gail Pesses, MSW, LCSW, are Board Members.

The annual 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk is Co-hosted by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) and its Local Affiliates. According to the news release, the event, 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk, is the nation’s largest grassroots  awarenessbuilding and fundraising campaign to highlight obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders, including body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), hoarding disorder (HD), and body-focused repetitive disorders (BFRBs). Funds raised at the walk support the important programs of the International OCD Foundation and its partnering Local Affiliates, including OCD Louisiana. These programs aim to drive change through advocacy, education, research, and resources that improve the lives of those living with OCD and related disorders.

“OCD Louisiana invites all members of the community to join the 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk this October 20 at City Park, New Orleans to raise awareness, funds, and hope. We will be meeting by the Reunion Pavilion and Outdoor Classroom at the Big Lake. Participation is free.”

Dr. Dufrene said, “Our next project is to establish support groups that are accessible to the OCD community. The funding we raise with the walk will help us do that and more!”

President Dr. Kristin Fitch pointed out: “OCD Louisiana is an official affiliate of the International OCD Foundation. OCD Louisiana aims to provide education, resources, and support to the local Psychologists at OCD Louisiana Hold Walk for Awareness Oct 20, continued State News community to increase access to effective treatment and promote awareness about OCD and related disorders [Hoarding Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling Disorder), Excoriation (SkinPicking) Disorder, and other related disorders. We hope to develop a community for those affected by OCD and related disorders and the professionals who treat them.

Like our parent organization, OCD Louisiana is a donor-supported nonprofit organization run by volunteers. We welcome individuals who suffer from one of these conditions, their family members and friends, mental health professionals, researchers, educators, religious leaders, and/or other interested community members to become involved or attend any of our events.

“It’s estimated that 1 in 100 adults and 1 in 200 children live with OCD. Despite its prevalence, OCD is often misunderstood and misrepresented in the media as a personality quirk or helpful trait that keeps people organized. In reality, OCD is debilitating and severely impacts those living with the disorder, as well as their friends and family. The World Health Organization (WHO) has ranked OCD in the top ten of the most disabling illnesses of any kind in terms of lost earnings and diminished quality of life.”

Dr. Suzanne Chabaud, New Orleans clinical psychologist, is a Board Member at the OCD Louisiana, and an expert in hoarding. Chabaud earned national recognition for her work with the A&E television show, Hoarders, one of the first of these reality-type shows. In this captivating series, Dr. Chabaud and other experts, consulted with the show’s producers to help hoarders and their families accomplish the complex task of transforming how they think of themselves, their relationship to objects, and to change their lives.

The Times previously interviewed Chadaud about her work. “I am fascinated by hoarders’ real life journey through a world of stuff–what I call hoards,” Chabaud said. She noted that compulsive hoarding cannot be neatly defined or easily placed in the taxonomy of mental disorders. “It is a multidimensional disorder that affects and is affected by difficulties with emotional, cognitive, and sensory processes. Along with compulsive hoarding, clients can have symptoms in a number of overlapping categories, such as OCD, depression, dementia and even anorexia.”

Even though she had treated OCD intensely for many years and 70 percent of her clients have it, “… many clients are just beginning to admit their hoarding behavior,” she said.

Similar to other severe mental illnesses, the whole family can acquire symptoms. “Children become lonely and embarrassed, and can not bring home friends. If they are lucky, theyfind comfort and friendship in other people’s homes. Some stay overly close to the hoarding parent. These children watch the other parent become consumed by the disorder or distance from the home. I have seen the spouse of a hoarder work two jobs to support the hoarders purchases and sleep on the sofa because the hoarder took over every bedroom in the house.”

Her work extended to treat children of hoarders and in 2011, ABC’s prime time news magazine, 20/20, included Chabaud as part of a special report about children of hoarders and the psychological impact that they must manage as adults.

In an interview with WWL–TV in New Orleans, Dr. Chabaud commented, “Children of hoarders’ lives are deprived in so many ways. It’s not just the unhealthy environment; it’s the emotional contact with a significant adult. It’s the loss of skills for just maintaining their lives, down to bathing, making beds, organizing their belongings,” she said. “You just can’t put these children in foster homes. There has to be a program to help them through this.”

For those wanting more information about OCD Louisiana, Dr. Fitch invites interested psychologists to visit the website at ocdlouisiana.org and follow on facebook (facebook.com/ocdlouisiana), Instagram (instagram.com/ocdlouisiana), and twitter (twitter.com/LouisianaOcd).

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