Pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

What is OCD?

Most children exhibit typical, age-dependent, compulsive behaviors, and these are completely normal and part of their development, as they explore the world around them and get to become aware of themselves. It is typical for children aged 18 months to 2-3 years to show ritualistic behaviors that are not excessive nor disruptive.  However, if a child has recurrent unwanted thoughts that cause them anxiety, and repetitive actions that interfere with their daily life, they may be showing signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Symptoms of OCD must be differentiated from normal childhood ritualistic behavior, which a qualified mental health provider is trained to do.

If I just ignore it, will it eventually go away?

No.  If symptoms of OCD are ignored, it may only get worse and could potentially have catastrophic consequences for the child.  One of the leading causes of death of patients with OCD is suicide. Children and adolescents with OCD typically first try to ignore, block, or deny the recurring unwanted thoughts, and is this attempt at blocking the thoughts that lead them to  engage in the ritualistic behaviors, as a way to channel or relieve the anxiety caused by the unwanted thoughts. The behaviors typical of OCD are not always seen by others, since patients often hide their compulsions for fear of being mocked or judged.

What are some of the symptoms of OCD?

The major features of this disorder are:

  • Recurring unwanted thoughts (called obsessions),and 
  • Repetitive and excessive actions that interfere with a person’s life (called compulsions).

Some compulsions observed include behaviors such as:

  • Washing (hands, clothes, surfaces, etc.)
  • Counting (coins, toys, chairs, cars, etc.)
  • Lining up of objects (toys, silverware, crayons, etc.)

Other compulsions are not easily seen by others, such as counting lines on a book page, or reading a sentence or a paragraph over and over.

How is OCD diagnosed?

Studies show that, unfortunately, very few teenagers with OCD are correctly diagnosed, and this often means they get treatments that may not be the safest or the most effective for them.  There are no lab tests that can tell if your child or teen have OCD or not, but some lab tests may help in ruling out other conditions that may or may not be present.  This is why the diagnosis must be made by a qualified mental health provider.

If you suspect that your child or teen may have symptoms of OCD, do not second-guess yourself; seek professional counsel, as only a qualified mental health professional has the training and expertise to correctly diagnose your child. 

NovoTelehealth is composed of qualified healthcare providers who, besides being equipped to diagnose and recommend the most effective therapies, are a caring and compassionate group of people who will do a thorough evaluation of your child’s mental and physical health and will formulate a comprehensive, holistic treatment tailored to their individual needs.  

Treatment options for OCD

It is common for people with OCD to be treated with medication known as SSRIs (a type of antidepressant), but medication is not the only treatment available, and in fact, medication alone is not enough to treat OCD and with the right treatment, some children may not need to take any medication at all.  Your integrative team at Novo goes above and beyond to not only address your child’s OCD , but also support their health in the most effective, comprehensive and holistic way. Some treatment options include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Psychotherapy
  • Behavior modification
  • Medication
  • Naturopathic medicine
  • Diet modification
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Mindfulness techniques

To know more about OCD and how NovoTelehealth can support you and your family in living a happier, healthier life, book an appointment with us online or at one of our locations.

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