Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, otherwise known as OCD, usually begins in adolescence or young adulthood and is seen in as many as 1 in 200 children. OCD is characterized by recurrent obsessions and /or compulsions that are intense enough to cause severe discomfort. In OCD, the obsessions or compulsions cause significant anxiety or distress, or they interfere with normal routine, academic functioning, social activities, or relationships.
Research shows that OCD is a brain disorder and tends to run in families, although this doesn’t mean the child will definitely develop symptoms. Children and adolescents often feel shame and embarrassment about their OCD. Many fear it means they’re crazy. Good communication between parents and children can increase understanding of the problem and help the parents appropriately support their child.
Most children with OCD can be treated effectively with a combination of psychotherapy and certain medications. Family support and education are also central to the success of treatment. Seeking help from a child and adolescent psychiatrist is important both to better understand the complex issues created by OCD as well as to get help.
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