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  • Writer's pictureShannon Kelly

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? How Can You Support Your Child or Teen with OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is when an individual experiences consistent, intrusive thoughts and obsessions, as well as the need to repeat behaviours they feel necessary to perform due to the obsessions. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be divided into two parts. Obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are a result of unwanted and intrusive thoughts, whereas compulsions are characterised as repetitive behaviours. Some examples of obsessions are, worries about religious beliefs, worry about germs, disease or even death, and worries about doing actions that may cause damage to others or self. On the other hand, compulsions may be excessive hand washing, checking routines to ensure an appliance is turned off or a door is secured, and rituals performed to avoid contact with an “infected” person or item. It is important to note, OCD is often co-occurring with other disorders such as Anxiety challenges, Depression, ADHD, Eating disorders, and Substance Abuse Disorders. 

To help your child or teen with OCD you can firstly discuss your concerns with your child or teen. Remain positive, listen carefully and express your empathy. An easy-going conversation can look something like this, “I notice you adjusting your socks all the time to make them equal. It takes a lot of work to make them feel right, I wonder if that is the OCD thoughts telling you to do that”. If you believe your child or teen needs professional help, you can make an appointment with a Paediatrician and a Psychologist. In order to diagnose OCD, the Paediatrician or the Psychologist will examine symptoms as well as the impact on your child or teen. If your child and teen is diagnosed with OCD, they will help you discuss treatment options. 

Treatment varies from individual to individual. Treatment at a Psychology Clinic, such as Creative Sky Psychology, may be a combination of the following, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Exposure Therapy, and Family Therapy. 

It is important to stay connected with your child or teen if you are noticing concerns. OCD may impact their self esteem and family and friend relationships and may lead to social avoidance. The more knowledge you have about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder the more you can support your child or teen. 

Child in therapy for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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