Kids With OCD and Anxiety; Life-Saving Organ Transplants | Connecticut Public Radio

Kids With OCD and Anxiety; Life-Saving Organ Transplants

Sep 1, 2015

For some time, I've been interested in the thoughtful and caring work of psychologist Dr. Anthony Puliafico, who sees clients in Westchester, New York, especially children who experience anxiety and OCD.

Obsessive-compulsive behaviors come in many forms, some that interfere with a child's need for safety, peace, boundaries, and meaningful relationships. The cruelty in these behaviors is that the very organ you need to solve the problem, the brain, is wired in a way that makes a behavior an actual compulsion, seemingly irresistible. And yet there is hope, thanks to knowledgeable specialists like Puliafico, an assistant professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University.

Puliafico serves as director of the Westchester facility of Columbia University's Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. In the Westchester location, he and his team use breakthrough techniques, and sometimes medicines, to help children and adolescents understand the connection between thoughts and actions.

We'll talk about:

  1. Defining obsessive-compulsive disorder
  2. Spotting the telltale signs of OCD
  3. How OCD looks different in adults and children
  4. How OCD affects an individual, especially how it gets in the way of life
  5. What treatments are available for OCD, including special therapy techniques, and when medicine is important
  6. How families can support a loved one with OCD, and how those family members can receive their own support
  7. What if you suspect OCD? What should you do?
  8. What happens if someone with OCD refuses treatment, despite suffering from it in concerning ways?
  9. Are there promising new treatments for OCD?
  10. What options are there if standard treatment is not effective?

On this show we also talk about how to make organ transplants fair to all.

Right now, if you need an organ transplant to save your life, and you live in a population-dense region of the nation, like the Northeast, you could be out of luck. Yet, those in the South or Midwest, where density is lower, have a greater chance of receiving a life-saving organ. Is this a fair system? Can we make it more equitable? My guest, Yale transplant chief Dr. David Mulligan, says we can. And he's at work right now to jump-start a new system for organ recipients nationwide.

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Lori Mack, Jonathan McNicol, and Marian Roy contributed to this show, which originally aired July 7, 2015.