Break Free From OCD Book Review And Learnings

Book review time. As part of my OCD recovery blogging I wanted to write about the OCD related books that are helping my recovery. With the aim of empowering you to read more around the subject, and further your own healing process.

Today’s book is called Break Free From OCD by Dr. Fiona Challacombe, Dr. Victoria Bream Oldfield and Paul M Salkovskis.

I found the book useful, and I’ve read a lot around OCD. If you are new to reading about this anxiety disorder then this book is also written in an easy to understand way. The premise of the book is based on CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), with hints of ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). Three therapies I have tried, all with varying results – positive, varying results. If you want to understand far more on ERP and ACT try other books, as this one is largely focused on CBT. Retraining the brain to see situations differently, and is mainly a talking therapy.

Break Free From OCD Book Cover

Break Free From OCD does a good job of explaining what OCD is, and does a good job at breaking it out into it’s subcomponents: Religious OCD (ROCD), Harm OCD (HOCD), Contamination OCD (COCD) and ‘Pure O’ etc. It would have been great to see a section on Relationship OCD – however this is one area still in need of much research and discussion. The book explains each of the subcomponents i.e. symptoms, behaviours, and more importantly how to tackle them. The authors go into great detail in dealing with each subcomponent which is good to see and will be of use to the sufferer.

The book largely focuses on getting the reader to A/B test. To see their thoughts from two perspectives. One being that they are their thoughts (which is why OCD is painful) and the other that they are worried about their thoughts. For example you may have Harm OCD (HOCD) and you may currently be in an anxiety cycle with thoughts that you are evil because of something your brain said you did. You are constantly checking in your head to see if you in fact did the thing, but you can’t be sure. So you keep checking and the anxiety increases – and so on. You could see these thoughts as ‘The problem is, I think I may have harmed that person’ or ‘The problem is, I worry I harmed that person’. The first thought process keeps you in the anxiety cycle, where as in the second you are seeing the worry as the problem not the thought. This separates you from the OCD which is the first step to knowing YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS.

"If you really accept that the problem you have is one of worry and fear, and live accordingly by acting against your fears, we predict that the anxiety will, over time, decrease and you will be able to abandon your obsessional ways" – From the book.

Other things to note would be that if you are a more visual learner there are plenty of diagrams, and examples. There is a section on finding a therapist and getting the most out of therapy.

Overall, I really liked this book. It helped me understand OCD more and I believe it will be an asset to you also.

To your success,


You have given them the ability to walk behind the mind’s elaborate set decoration, and to see that there is a huge difference between a dog that is going to eat you in your mind and an actual dog that’s going to eat you. That may sound like no big deal, but many never learn that distinction and spend a great deal of their lives living in fight or flight response.” – Jim Carrey

You can get the book here: Break Free From OCD

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