Obsessive compulsive disorder in children occurs in about one in every 200 kids today. This disorder is characterized by thoughts and fears that begin to control one's life. To deal with the thoughts, patients develop a series of rituals and behaviors like hand washing or rechecking something many, many times. Unfortunately, these behaviors become the center of focus and the person will begin to have a hard time stopping them. Obsessive compulsive disorder in children can be an embarrassing, frustrating problem that leaves both a child and his parents at a loss over what to do. It can be especially challenging in obsessive compulsive disorder in young children, since the child may not be mature enough to discuss his fears. Fortunately, help is available for children suffering with this condition.
The first step in managing obsessive compulsive disorder in children is to learn how to identify the condition. Symptoms of the disorder begin with an irrational fear of things like illness, germs or a preoccupation with body waste. The compulsive behaviors most commonly seen with obsessive compulsive disorder in children include frequent hand washing or showering, rituals that involve going in and out of doorways in a particular way and repeatedly checking homework after it is done. Because children are often embarrassed or scared of their behaviors, they may try to hide them from teachers and parents. Instead, parents might sense a problem because of frequent tantrums, difficult behaviors or their child's frequent worries.
Once you have identified obsessive compulsive disorder in children, and received a definitive diagnosis from a doctor, the next step is to treat the condition. Most obsessive compulsive disorder in children is first treated through medication. Medication can calm a child's anxieties enough that a psychotherapist can work with the child on other aspects of their condition. SSRIs are a common medication given for obsessive compulsive disorder in children, because they can raise serotonin levels in the brain to keep symptoms at bay. Psychotherapy involves teaching children how to manage their condition through altering thought processes that lead to the compulsive behaviors. In some cases, psychotherapy alone is sufficient for treating obsessive compulsive disorder in children, especially if treatment is begun earlier rather than later.
Obsessive compulsive disorder in children can be a challenging condition that leaves both a child and his parents frustrated and fearful. Fortunately effective treatment options are available to keep symptoms at bay and improve the child's quality of life.