Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In Children


Children with OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD) can be as noninvasive as just liking a very organized closet. It can be a need to match your socks to your hair band. It can be the need the kiss the angel by the door before you leave the house each day. Many people with these types of behaviors joke about having OCD but OCD is not a joke. Anxiety is a thief, and OCD is specialized in the craft. I have seen so many children with OCD and it is one of the most heartbreaking things that I see. 5-year-old children that can’t leave the bathroom because they can’t stop washing their hands. For many of you who can’t get your children to wash their hands this may not seem like a problem, but it is. Little children who have created complicated rituals to avoid doing something “the wrong way”. They can’t leave their rooms until they line their stuffed animals up the right way. They can’t leave the house until they find just the right outfit so they can feel safe for the day. They throw temper tantrums that can be violent when they are asked to do something the “wrong way”. They aren’t bad they are scared.

Many children describe their OCD as a separate person that lives inside of them. It tells them what they can and cannot do. It differentiates between the right and wrong way to go about the morning routine, how to eat the food on their plate, the path they need to take to get from one room to another. When I ask young children to make a list of what they can’t do it can include more than 20 items. When I ask what would happen if they did things “wrong” they usually say they don’t know because they wouldn’t dare try. But I teach them that they are bigger than their OCD. They are stronger than their OCD. We draw about it, and write about it, and give it a name to reduce it’s power. Then we start to desensitize them to it and miraculously over time it usually starts to dissipate. Sadly, though when it’s severe it often comes back. Its dealable but its chronic and for some children medication will be the only way to tame this beast. I don’t know why some little ones have such a large thorn in their side. What I do know is that with the right treatment your little one can find the relief they need. Let us help.

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