Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Q & A
What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Children who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder have unwanted thoughts or urges that cause very upsetting feelings. In an attempt to get rid of these feelings, children with obsessive-compulsive disorder engage in compulsions. When a child has obsessive-compulsive disorder, the cycle of obsessions that trigger compulsions becomes so overwhelming for children that may interfere with their ability to live their daily life normally. Children with OCD are unable to control their compulsions, just as they would be unable to control medical issues like allergies or asthma.
What is the cause of OCD in children?
The reason for OCD is not definitively known at this time. However, scientific research indicates that it may be related to brain neurotransmitter levels, in particular, serotonin levels in the brain. When serotonin flow is interrupted, the brain has a type of emergency system reaction. This means that the brain misinterprets information, and focuses on things that it would not otherwise obsess about. Some children also have a genetic tendency towards OCD. Often, people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder have parents or other family members who suffer from it as well.
What are common obsessions?
Some of the more common obsessions may include organization, religion, contamination, numbers, illness, objects like household items, natural disasters, and noises. Children can become obsessed with nearly anything, however.
What are common compulsions?
Some of the most common compulsions include personal cleaning such as hand washing, rituals like walking through a doorway repeatedly, rereading, erasing and rewriting homework, and counting rituals. Nearly anything can become a compulsion for a child who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
How is OCD treated?
The treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder depends on the child. Treatment is always customized for the individual. Many children benefit from both behavioral therapy and prescription medication.