Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in children and adolescents

OCD is a condition that can affect people of any age including kids and teens. It causes people to have obsessions, which are fears, doubts, and worries that take over and interrupt a person’s normal thoughts and routines.

OCD causes people to have obsessions, which are fears, doubts, and worries that take over and interrupt a person’s normal thoughts and routines. To get relief from obsessive thoughts, people with OCD develop behaviors called rituals or compulsions. To a person with OCD, the rituals have the power to make things seem “right” or prevent the bad things they worry about.
Identifying OCD in Children early is crucial and the right questions to ask a child who might be suffering. Obsessive thoughts can be upsetting and scary. But kids and teens feel powerless to stop focusing on these thoughts, even though they want to and this can make life very stressful making them act irritable, upset, sad, or anxious.

Kids with OCD often get obsessed with:
• whether something is dirty or germy
• things being symmetrical or even
• things being done in set order or a specific way
• whether they might have sinned, broken a rule, or offended someone
• numbers, words, sounds, or colors that seem “lucky” or “unlucky”
• having aggressive thoughts
• illness or harm coming to them or their relatives

Kids with OCD feel compelled to do specific compulsive rituals to get relief from their obsessive thoughts, including things like:
• washing and cleaning for too long
• repeating specific behaviors, like saying a word or phrase over and over
• going in and out of doorways several times in a row
• checking to making sure an appliance is off, a door is locked, or repeatedly checking homework
• touching or tapping a certain number of times or a set way
• ordering or arranging objects “just so”
• counting to a certain number, or counting over and over

Doing a ritual gives kids with OCD temporary relief from fear, worry, or bad thoughts. But the more kids do a ritual, the more they feel the urge to do it again. Eventually, the ritual doesn’t bring as much relief as it once did. So a kid may do it over, then over again.

Worries makes it hard for them to concentrate on schoolwork or enjoy activities. Fortunately, kids and teens with OCD can get better with the right attention and care. Parent should talk to their children to understand their fears and consult a Pediatrician if they see the symptoms.

Therapists treat OCD with cognitive behavioral therapy of talk-and-do where kids and teens learn helpful new ways to reduce rituals to weaken OCD. They learn ways to face fears and resist doing rituals that helps reset the brain’s activity to a healthier way of working to stop the cycle of obsessive compulsive messages and urges. Sometimes, doctors also prescribe medicines to treat OCD and parents will learn what they can do to help kids get better.

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