Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In Children- What Is It And How To Handle It?

Washing hands


Congratulations on being blessed with a wonderful little baby! It is quite natural for kids to have their own worries and doubts. But it becomes a matter of concern for parents if their child finds it difficult to stop worrying. This is a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Kids suffering from OCD are unable to take control over their worries which compel them to act in certain ways repeatedly.

Obsessive compulsive disorder in children is generally a kind of anxiety disorder wherein they are preoccupied with the thought that something harmful, dangerous, wrong, or dirty could affect them. In such cases, kids try to perform certain actions repeatedly which may be a form of compulsive behaviour. A child affected by OCD believes that by performing such actions, he would be able to eliminate the scary thoughts, defend against something dreaded, and make sure that things are safe, clean, or right in some way.

Managing a Child Affected by OCD:

Understanding and managin

g obsessive compulsive disorders in children is very crucial task. Parents of children with OCD should not feel dejected- it is the behaviour of the parents that affects a child in many aspects. Feeling sorry for your kid could worsen his condition and break his self-esteem. As a parent, you have to understand that your child needs you the most to deal with this syndrome. Your positive attitude to fight the disorder will give the child the extra comfort and strength to fight with the problem.

And well, here’s the good news- OCD is completely treatable in adults as well as children. Yet, there’s a single tricky aspect about this disorder- you have to identify the condition properly and carefully and preferably in the early stage itself. Studies have shown that kids with OCD often hide their symptoms to avoid getting humiliated and insulted.

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Signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children:

As a caring parent, make your child feel safe and relaxed. Knowing what causes ocd in children is very important. If you think there is something wrong, start observing your kid and try to identify the following ocd symptoms in children-

  • Your kid may try to hide compulsions.
  • Your child is frequently obsessed with certain activities.
  • He/she may repeat an action such as hand washing to avoid germ contamination.
  • Your child may show signs of distress if others interrupt his/her action.
  • He/she may find it difficult to explain the unusual behavior.
  • Your child may resist if stopped to repeat any actions over and over again.
  • In school, he/she will find it difficult to concentrate.
  • He/she suffers from low self-esteem in social and academic activities.

[ Read: How To Improve Concentration In Children ]

Ways to Handle Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children:

Research has proved that behavioural therapy and medications show great results in treating kids with OCD. As part of behavioural therapy, which is also known as cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy (CBT), kids are assessed and approached to help them change their feelings and thoughts. In such therapy, kids are gradually exposed to their fears, and are asked not to continue with the rituals. This process helps them to realize that their fear will ultimately decrease and nothing disastrous will happen.

In most of the cases, kids undergoing behavioural therapy show good signs of recovery. The therapy helps your child as well as the family to deal with the situation and come out of it. This therapy is aimed at helping the parents understand the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder in children and how to treat them with care and patience.

[ Read: Kids Behavior Chart ]

Medications for Children with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

OCD children should be first treated with behavioural therapy. If this doesn’t work out properly, medications can be used. Doctors usually prescribe medicines only when there are moderate to severe OCD symptoms in kids. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) support the use of both cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and medicine for the treatment of OCD in children and teens.

Care for Children with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

As a parent, you have to understand that your child is not trying to disturb you with his/her obsessive-compulsive behaviour. At times, your child’s behaviour could be annoying, but as a parent you have to be patient and realize that your child needs you and your care to overcome the situation as soon as possible.

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