My OCD started in the 5th grade when I believed my parents were trying to poison me. Every night before bed, I asked for a glass of water, and would take a sip while calculating the number of hours until the poison would kill me.
This is just one example of the strange compulsions and haunting images I had to endure. While in Hawaii during Christmas of my 6th grade year, I saw a TV. show on MTV called “True Life: I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder”. The hour-long television segment followed the life of three young men and women (around their 20’s), dealing with everyday battles related to OCD. I watched the program for about 3 minutes and turned it off. I was scared out of my mind. It was all too realistic and close to the same things that were going on inside my head. From that point on, I told my parents that I thought I had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I knew very little about the condition, because when you are of a young age like I was, you do not know what is considered “normal”. You do not know if millions of other kids are scared of killing someone when they hold a knife in their hands, which was another one of my fears. You do not know if these horrible thoughts and images pass through other people’s minds.
Middle school continued, and my OCD seemed to get better. Whenever I did do something strange, I’d mention it to my mom. She would reply with “Okay sweetheart. If it ever gets too much for you to handle we’ll get you some help.” Slowly my compulsions began to get out of hand. I couldn’t watch TV unless the volume was at an even number. I couldn’t walk into my bathroom without first turning on one light switch then the second. I couldn’t run or exercise without holding my tongue to the roof of my mouth, or feel the need to constantly squeeze my toes to the bottom of my shoes. I joined a competitive cheerleading team, and traveled to compete with amazing teams of girls. That brought a lot of stress which fed my anxiety, which boosted my OCD. I would have to run through the routine perfectly three times without messing up due to fear that I might get injured or injure someone else.
When freshman year of high school came and went, things started too look a little better. I made captain of my cheerleading squad, participated in volunteer work for a local charity and met new friends. However, the summer before my sophomore year, things began to spiral again. I was named cheerleading captain again, but this time it would fuel my OCD. I would count at practices and have to do weird rituals with the numbers as I counted. I became increasingly depressed and had thoughts of death and loneliness.
I told my parents how unbearable my OCD had become and asked for help. My mom searched for the correct way to deal with my disorder. We found The Anxiety Treatment Center and through Exposure and Ritual Prevention techniques my OCD got better. This form of behavioral therapy, combined with Zoloft, allowed me to overcome my constant and torturing fears. I am no longer in therapy and currently maintain a 4.2 GPA. I continue to be Captain of my cheerleading squad, and I am now President of the charity I referenced earlier. I am no longer depressed, and have my life back. I am now in charge, not my OCD!
Hypochondriasis and Scrupulosity
My OCD became evident and disruptive to me, and my family’s life, in February of 2000. Shortly after the birth of my son, I was hospitalized with internal bleeding. After being released, a sense of constant anxiety over fears of health, death, and my standing with God became intrusive to my everyday life. Looking back, I now realize that they were obsessive thoughts. It took until July 2002 before I decided that enough was enough and I needed to get some help finding out what was going on with my thinking. Frustration set in. I bounced along from therapist to therapist until one of them introduced me to the concept of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), but she did not specialize in these areas of treatment. She suggested a few books and sent me on my way.
After doing some research on CBT and ERP, the concepts resonated with what I was going through. The treatment course that I was on was not working, and I decided that I needed to do something different. Unfortunately, it took until 2007 before I was able to find someone that had expertise in this area of treatment. Until then, I spent thousands of dollars, and hours, looking for someone that specialized in CBT and ERP. I contacted “Best Seller” authors as well as other “well known” published experts. Luckily my quests lead me to the Anxiety Treatment Center. The treatment that I have been pursuing with Dr Zasio has done more for me in the last 7 months than all of the treatment I received in the last 8 years.
The goal of sharing my story is to help others realize that there is hope. What I was doing wasn’t working and if I can help even one person find their way to managing OCD, I will have been successful.
I have learned that “feelings are not facts and that I’m more powerful than my fears.”
OCD makes life so much harder than it should be. If it is not one thing it’s another. After I do a compulsion I gain temporary relief, but hours, sometimes even minutes later the obsession crops us again in a worse form. Exposure and ritual prevention therapy, I find, is the real solution to get a handle on OCD.
Some of the obsessions included: 1) A fear of being gay or damned (doomed); 2) A fear of not living a good Christian life; 3) A fear that other Christians may advise me to dispose of my collections and try to control my life; 4) A fear of not being normal; 5) A fear that if I don’t deposit money in my checking account daily that I will not have a secure bank account.
These are only some of my obsessions, many of which are linked to religion. I feared that I had to live a “perfect” Christian life. This resulted in compulsions and drastic changes in my life. The OCD created it’s own standard and, I followed. When I thought about my DVD’s, I feared that having these “worldly things” would cause Christians to advise me to purify my life by disposing of them….so I did it on my own. When I thought about my fear of being gay, I thought I would not make it into heaven, so I confessed my sins and, would purge more of my possessions. The problem was, it never helped. I purged everything I owned except my bedroom furniture and clothing. I lost thousands of dollars in computers, cell phones, DVD’s, personal items, and so forth.
In an effort to reclaim my life, I researched all I could on OCD and learned about Exposure Therapy. I had no idea how it would change my life. I began with buying one item at a time and began to bring them home to my room. I learned to sit with my fear that others would not see me as a worthy Christian. I limited depositing money into my checking account, did not go on-line to verify the balance, and did not pay bills as soon as they came in. I was able to put labels on movies “not perfectly,” and keep them in my room without discarding them. Each time I sat with my fears I found that what I was so scared of never even existed. None of my fears ever happened.
I have reached many great milestones in my life. After spending only a few weeks in Intensive Outpatient Treatment, I was discharged and now follow up once per week with individual and group therapy for support. I have the tools to apply when needed, understanding that doing compulsions only provides temporary relief and feeds the condition. Sitting with my anxiety and accepting the feared consequences has helped to desensitize me and change my life. I am someone who can manage my OCD and hope that through my story, others will see there is hope.
The Anxiety Treatment Center is the first program that actually understood my anxiety and what I needed to do to get better. They looked at me as a whole person and all the areas of my life that were affected by my anxiety. I had been through other local programs reporting to have expertise only to find out they were group based and for more general mental health conditions. The kind, warm, individualized treatment that I received fostered a safe environment for me to open up, talk about my fears, and face them head on. I am ready to return to work, something that I never thought I could do. If you are looking for help, this is the place to go.
A major benefit of this program is the group time. I benefited so much from being around other people who suffered from OCD/anxiety. It felt so good to check in and talk to others. I felt compassion for everyone here and in turn I felt self-compassion. One of my favorite days was when Dr. Jason did education on mindfulness. I loved and benefited greatly from everyone in group learning and discussing this concept together.
Dr. Jason was wonderful and helped me through one of the most challenging days when he encouraged me to open up about my OCD to my husband. He walked me through it and had he not encouraged me to do this I would have never done it.
The number one most beneficial thing that I learned here was that the goal was not to fight anxiety or never feel it again.
- Learning to cope with it and feel it. By doing this it was no longer so scary. This whole concept changed my thinking and gave me a sense of self-empowerment.
- I feel it was so beneficial to be amongst other people who suffered as I did. I drew from their strength and was inspired by their courage,
- We learned to not view everything as black or white at the direction of the therapist.
- My time here has inspired me to want to start a support group in my county and also continue to learn more about OCD and anxiety.
I have always hidden this part of my life but I need to remain aware. If I am aware I feel I can face any new OCD Obsession/compulsion that is put before me or may enter my life. This makes me less afraid of my future.
Not to sound cliche- BUT- this program saved my life. I truly believe this.
I can’t thank you enough for all the help and support during my treatment. Thank you for tailoring my treatment to my needs and my schedule. During this journey I have gained more than I ever thought possible, and I am incredibly grateful to be able to live a life with more freedom and peace. Thank you for your compassion and providing the help that I desperately needed to change my life.
My snake phobia nearly destroyed my relationships and career. Struggling with this my whole life, being teased and without support from my family, I felt all alone. I could no longer walk in public without living in fear that I would encounter a snake. I was no longer able to go hiking, on picnics, or to any social gathering in the community. My world was getting smaller as I even became afraid to go to work. The systematic desensitization produced through the exposure process while difficult, was extremely effective and by the end of the treatment, I was able to hold a snake with no anxiety. I am so grateful to have my freedom back!
When I started treatment at The Anxiety Treatment Center, I had to have someone drive me to and from treatment. I was so terrified of having a panic attack that just thinking about it would cause me to shut down. Through the gradual exposure exercises, I was slowly able to start driving on my own in areas around the clinic, and then slowly and incrementally further and further away. The homework assigned allowed me to practice near my home and over time, I was able to get to and from the program by myself. Many times I would think “This is ridiculous! I “should” be able to do this on my own.” After recognizing that the “should” statements were distortions, I was able to give myself a break and fully embrace the treatment. I am fully able to drive wherever I want and my freedom is restored! I am back in control, not my panic disorder!
The best place I could have taken my daughter. The tools she learned here will benefit her for a lifetime!
Absolutely great program. It took me several years to finally find a place that can understand me and provide me with the help I need.
The Staff and treatment at The Anxiety Treatment Center are amazing. The staff is professional, friendly and the treatment methods really work. They gave me the tools I needed to manage my anxiety. Highly recommended!
The Anxiety Treatment Center is a friendly environment where the staff was able to help me have a better life. Thank you!
Dr. Murphey knew exactly what I needed. I haven’t been this positive in a year! I finally feel alive again and I am living and enjoying life!
I strongly recommend the ATC to anyone struggling with an Anxiety Disorder. Dr. Zasio and her staff are very good at what they do. They are professional, knowledgeable, compassionate and very friendly. Exposure Therapy is hard work, but the staff is always there to support you every step of the way. I learned many tools that helped me bring my anxiety down and overcome some of my phobias. Although we see an increase of people experiencing anxiety all over the nation, there are not many centers who specialize in treating only anxiety disorders. I was very lucky to be able to come here and get the help I much needed. My most sincere gratitude to everyone at The Anxiety Treatment Center.
The Anxiety Treatment Center helped me to understand my anxiety and gave me practical tools to help me live life again.
What a blessing it was to find this place. The therapists are all so dedicated, caring and skilled in their field. We traveled over 200 miles to have our daughter participate in the treatment program and it was worth every effort to make it happen.
The Anxiety Treatment Center is a place for those who don’t require hospitalization but require more than traditional weekly therapy. The exposure therapy approach was different than any therapy I have tried before and it works!
The Anxiety Treatment Center is an extremely comforting environment that caters to your specific needs. Their therapists are alternative, positive and are well educated in assisting your anxiety issues. They want you to succeed and push you (gently) to make sure goals are reached, or become reachable when you leave the program.
The Anxiety Treatment Center brought me back from a hard time in my life.
The center is a community- everyone here is focused on either dealing with their anxiety or teaching and helping others with their anxiety. Every staff member from doctors to therapists to interns are all devoted and very, very good at what they do.
Saying yes to treatment was difficult, but well worth it. The journey with my treatment has improved my mood and well being greatly. I would recommend it!
So thankful to The Anxiety Treatment Center. We are leaving with my daughter with a lot more skills to battle her OCD. My husband and I have a much greater understanding of how to support her and not make things more challenging.
This treatment is a lifesaver. I came here feeling so depressed and upset and I feel so much better after three years of pain.
I came to The Anxiety Treatment Center experiencing severe anxiety. I felt like I had lost control of my life. I was terrified of trying anything new, but my therapist was very patient and encouraged me to be open. I have learned skills that I feel will help me to have a happier life when I return home.
Excellent program! One really has to work hard and apply themselves, but the result is having control of your life again. My OCD has been reduced considerably.
The insight I received about mindfulness and my cognitive distortions is priceless. The wonderful staff made me feel safe and for the first time in years, I feel joy and pride about my future.
The Anxiety Treatment Center confronts the issues that their patient’s struggle with from a position of care and understanding. The staff wants to hear their patient’s thoughts, doubts and accomplishments, while providing the support and confidence to help them progress towards achieving their goals.
God’s been very good to me, guiding me to your center. Dr. Zasio, you are a blessing to me and so many others. Holly, I truly aprreciate your time and compassion for me. You’re an expert at helping to calm the frazzled impulses in my head. You’ve helped me to gain control and to organize those impulses and issues so that they will be more manageable for me to work through. Dr. Zasio, Holly and the entire staff of the Anxiety Treatment Center have touched my heart and soul, and have started me on the path to health and happiness in my life. God bless you all!
I have found others who used this center and had the same experience as our family. Fabulous! Comforting to leave your child with such a great professional staff.
The Anxiety Treatment Center’s approach to treatment is thoughtful and houstic. The peer support component was invaluable as a way to humanize and process my experience.
Dr. Zasio, every graduation is the story of someone heading off to a fuller and richer life in large part because of you. From emails, phone calls, and intakes to working with insurance and spearheading a team of wonderful therapists, your dedication makes it possible for me and so many people facing anxiety. Thank you for your tireless work on our behalf. I will make the best possible use of the freedom The Anxiety Treatment Center has helped me unlock. A big thanks to Ms. Tessa, too, for her help with my exposures and for always bringing a smile to my face!
I really felt heard and understood by my therapist and others that work at The Anxiety Treatment Center. You can tell that everyone who works at The ATC genuinely cares about helping people. There was a sense of community generated by therapists and patients during group therapy that helped you feel welcomed, connected and not alone. My therapist, Holly, was amazing throughout my treatment experience. Her compassion, understanding and knowledge made me feel comfortable opening up to her and trusting her. She’s the first therapist I have really connected with. I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated her kindess, support and guidance. I have seen the program really help people in their journey battling anxiety, and I am one of the people they have helped. They help you find the confidence and strength in yourself. I am very grateful.
Mere words can’t express my appreciation for the time and energy you spent helping me to begin my path to a more balanced and “wise” life. Although I was only with The Anxiety Treatment Center for a very short time, I felt that I found a group of loving and supportive people who truly care about my well-being. I sincerely thank the entire staff for providing me a safe, comfortable place to guide me in the direction to a healthy mind, body and soul.
The Anxiety Treatment Center provided me the tools and insights I needed to reframe my life so it will work for me. The therapists are top-notch! I know the future will hold challenges, but now I can meet them. Getting help was the smartest thing I could of done.
I came into this program not even knowing I had OCD. Because of The Anxiety Treatment Center, I was not only informed about what it was, but also how I can handle it so that I can lead a fruitful life no matter what my mental health situation is. They were able to help me tackle every mental health problem I threw at him.
Thank you for resuscitating my life. I can not thank you enough for the customized therpay. Thank you for leading me gently through my fears and out to the light of day.
Finally, a place where our daughter was understood and could celebrate just being herself while at the same time, learning how to cope with the outside world.
Heather was really great with us. It was obvious to us that she genuinely cared for our daughter and wanted her to make progress, which she has, tremendously with everyone’s help. Heather always took the time to listen and provide guidance to us and gave us the tools we needed to help our daughter move forward. We are more than pleased with the care and treatment she received at The Anxiety Treatment Center and will forever be grateful for all the kindness shown to her and to us.
My time at The Anxiety Treatment Center has helped me regain my confidence and control of my life. I can’t thank the staff enough for their support. I have a new, positive outlook on life!
The Anxiety Treatment Center is an uncovered gem that should be more well known around town! Do not pass the ATC over. Take time to learn more about them and it will pay off!
I’ve been to three places before coming to The Anxiety Treatment Center. You would not expect a few weeks to make such a difference, but my quality of life has been completely flipped around for the better!
Dr. Zasio and her staff do an extraordinary job in assisting their patients with anxiety disorders. Their thoroughness and genuine care has played an integral role in managing my anxiety and OCD.
I am very impressed with the program. Our son made significant strides which prompted me to seek treatment here.
We were so grateful to find The Anxiety Treatment Center. We have been impressed from our very first conversation with Dr. Zasio and Jill. Heather was amazing with us from our first meeting and throughout the entire program. We were so glad Serenity House was available for us to stay at, since we live out of the area.
The Anxiety Treatment Center has been really helpful. When I came in for the first time, I couldn’t even stand to listen to a trigger word. Now, I can hear them without getting anxious, and can have conversations about them. Heather is amazing and Tessa the dog is super cute!
The treatment here at The Anxiety Treatment Center is excellent. It is hard to find the right kind of care for anxiety and OCD. The ATC specializes in treating this illness. I am so thankful that I found The ATC. I feel that my future is much brighter.
Dr. Zasio and the staff are lifesavers. Coming in I thought I suffered from an unmanageable illness, and now after a little over a month I’m leaving feeling like my life can truly go on.
Thank you for your one on one help with Hoarding. It is so overwhelming to not know where to start, one just wants to steer away from it and block everything out as much as possible. Your gentle and supportive approach allowed me to progress in this area. I have much more to work on, but I can see progress. One day, I hope to be able to have company over again. Kudos to all of you.
This experience has been more than we could ask for. Our son has demonstrated to himself how he can now take charge of his ability to enjoy life. As parents, we are much more informed on how best to support our son. Thank you! Thank you!
Over the years I have attended two other IOP programs. The first one was only midly helpful. The second one that I tried just before starting this program was in the style and format of the first. It gave me so much anxiety that I could not even stay the full day. This program has been a miracle in my life. The first day here I had a major breakthrough. Everyday since has taught me new concepts and tools to take back my life. After being stuck for 17 years, I finally have hope for my life and future.
If you have the opportunity to come here, please do. The staff are loving, caring and understanding. The facility is great, and most importantly the expertise and experience is unparalleled. If you have OCD or anxiety of any kind, don’t hesistate to give The Anxiety Treatment Center a call. Get the freedom back into your life that you so strongly desire. It’s worth it for you and worth it for the ones you love. Recovery does not come just by trying harder. Come to a place where people like you have passed through and found help, hope and care.
The Anxiety Treatment Center has provided me with great care. They are very specific in their treatment, and very thorough as well. They have helped immensly in my recovery and with taking my life back.
Incredible group of people and program…saved my life! Care and compassion…there is no better!
The work that Dr. Zasio and all of the therapists do is life changing. I came to The ATC thinking there was noting that could be done to help me. However, with the support and guidance of a caring staff, especially Dr. Dana Matalon, I persevered and made it through treatment.
This is truly an enlightening and calming experience. The center does cater to your needs and assuages your anxieties.
I am extremely grateful for the tools I learned here. For the staff, for Heather. They are kind, thoughtful, friendly and very professional. They teach tools and methods that work. If someone wants to change, this is the place. I know I will have difficulties in life, but I now have the skills to help nip OCD in the bud.
I highly recommend the ATC. If you are ready to do the work to confront your anxiety and OCD, this is the place. The program is well thought out. The therapists are amazing. I am so glad I did the Intensive Outpatient program. It gave me the tools to use for the rest of my life. I feel so much better about life.
This program has changed my life. I have been battling anxiety for 30 years and have met with many therapists. The ATC was the first place with professionals that truly understand what anxiety is and how to treat it. I now live a life free from fear. Thank you so much ATC for this precious gift.
Having a child with anxiety is difficult. The staff helped not only my child, but myself. I’m so grateful.
It’s a really good experience here. Helps you to connect with others without triggering you. I love it here and the therapists really listen.
All of the staff at The Anxiety Treatment Center is dediciated to helping you meet your treatment goals and will work unbelievably hard to equip you with the skills they think can and will benefit you.
Participating in group was amazing because I was able to open up to people about what I was feeling and what I was going through. Everyone, including the therapists, were all very supportive during my journey.
In dealing with a panic disorder, I avoided coming to therapy for 20 years. Making the decision to go has proved to be well worth the initial difficulty and discomfort. I couldn’t have found a better place than The Anxiety Treatment Center. Everyone on the staff was wonderful and my individual therapist was the best. They have helped me to learn an acceptance for myself and for what I’m dealing with, as well as the importance of self-compassion. I was provided with a new way of approaching my panic disorder and much of what I have learned has been helpful in managing and minimizing my symptoms. This program has definitely helped me. They have given me healthier patterns to follow rather than my old patterns that used to keep me stuck.
I just finished my treatment at The ATC. I came with no clarity, hope or vision of my future. I was in an abusive work environment. ATC changed all of that for me. I am learning self-care, and the brain fog has lifted. I can see the sun shining on a rainy day. I am so thankful to my therapist Susan. Everyone is amazing and supportive. Thank you!
This IOP Program has helped me more than years of medication and seeing another therapist and psychiatrist. I wish I would of looked into The Intensive Outpatient Program here a long time ago!
The ATC helps you recover and recognize that you are so much more than your anxiety. You regain your enthusiasm for life and learn how to be free from your OCD. The program helps you in ways that you never thought possible.
I came to The Anxiety Treatment Center to work on a specific phobia that I have had for about 20 years. I’d spent my life feeling hopeless about it, but The Intensive Outpatient Program allowed me to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am now on my way to living a healthier, happier, more meanignful life in which I confront, rather than avoid, my fears.
The Anxiety Treatment Center saved my life! After living with decades of anxiety and OCD, I was given the tools to take control. The IOP Program is hard work, but The Exposure Response Therapy alleviated my compulsions and fears. I can enjoy life and my family!