The Day After Christmas and This Book I’m Reading

The cover of the book I’m reading has a picture of someone cutting grass with a pair of scissors. It’s called Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Perfectionism, and it has the most amusing cover of any¬† clinical book I’ve read to date. The content is not particularly humorous, but it’s interesting.

Reading the section on the causes of perfectionism prompted my mind to go back to Monday, when I was having talking to my dad about cloned lifeforms, identity, family skeletons that paraded out of that closet years ago, and personality traits. And a slew of other things, but the personality discussion sticks out. My dad and I tend to be competitive and tend to make it a point to focus energy on things in which we are skilled at. We differ in that my dad used to be impulsive – things change with age – and I am not.

At all.

Avoiding risk isn’t entirely an anxiety thing with me – it’s lack of interest. I just don’t find impulsive behavior appealing. I can put off enjoyable things for extended periods of time. My idea of a good time after work is looking at pictures of cats on the Internet. I’m not sure if I can explain it any better than just saying meh.

Nature and nurture is a funny thing.

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Minocycline for OCD

If you have ever had bad acne, MRSA, and/or gonorrhea, you may be familiar with minocycline. Minocycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that kills all sorts of nasty pathogens. It also affects glutamate, the most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain which serves multiple functions. Glutamate is the current target for innovation in psychiatric medication, because the whole dopamine and serotonin business hasn’t panned out as well as the mental health community would like. Minocycline is a convenient drug to study given that it has been in use for a long time and is relatively safe to use in both adults and children.

Apparently, it helps some people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) be less obsessive and compulsive. A Google search will produce multiple articles on the topic. For something that isn’t super jargony, check out the third article in the series titled Brain Hacking in the Washington Post.

People with OCD are stereotyped as orderly, perfectionist, and rigid. The OCD stereotype is inaccurate. The disorder is not characterized by personality traits, though people with OCD can struggle with them (perfectionism particularly). When I read about a medication for Leprosy that also treats OCD, I do wonder if the personalities of these folks changes somewhat – to what extent does personality reinforce OCD behaviors, and vice versa.

Frankly, I hope researchers find a magic pill for some of these things. As much as I love my job, I’d probably be content as a librarian or something. In the meantime…