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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Signs and Symptoms in Children and Teens

Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are difficult enough for fully grown adults, but what about teenagers who begin to show signs and symptoms of OCD just when they’re developing their independence and sense of identity? Younger children may express sentiments and urges that are out of the usual. 

Adolescence is a difficult time in life, so it’s usual for teenagers to acquire their oddities and eccentricities as they try to make sense of it all. Unfortunately, for a tiny minority of teenagers, these peculiarities and odd habits are signs of a serious mental health problem known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD, or Obsessive-Compulsive Illness, is a mental disorder that can be extremely distressing. 

WHAT IS OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a psychiatric condition characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive activities, as the name implies. Obsessions manifest themselves as undesired and invasive recurring thoughts, psychological pictures, or desires. They are usually negative and may create a lot of worry and anxiety. Teens may find it hard to focus at school or job, much alone enjoy life, if they are constantly bombarded by unpleasant ideas.

WHAT ARE OBSESSIONS?

Obsessions are unwanted ideas, images, or desires that a youngster can’t seem to get away from. When a teenager thinks these thoughts, he or she may experience anxiety or worry. Some common types of obsessions are as follows:

  • Be concerned about sexuality.
  • Fear of infection or harmful bacteria
  • Fear of getting sick or dying
  • Fear of committing a violent act
  • Sexual ideas, impulses, or images that make you uncomfortable
  • Religiously based sentiments that are troubling

WHAT ARE COMPULSIONS?

Compulsions are actions that a teenager feels compelled to do repeatedly. This is something that youngsters may do to try to stop an obsessive idea. Children, on the other hand, don’t always understand why they feel and act the way they do. Some common types of compulsions are as follows:

  • Excessive scrubbing or washing
  • Putting items in a specific arrangement regularly
  • Counting
  • Checking all the time for example the door is locked or stove turned off
  • Acting repeatedly until it is accurate.

The two most frequent kinds of OCD are screening and organizing. Compulsive hoarding, which is also highly frequent, was formerly thought to be a form of OCD. It’s now considered a distinct condition and is known as a separate disorder.

OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE AND RELATED DISORDERS

Individuals with OCD are frequently diagnosed with one or more additional mental diseases. The existence of another mental disease might make it more difficult to treat OCD properly. The following are the most prevalent co-occurring disorders:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Disorders of substance abuse
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • ADD/ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

 

 

The following diseases have some similarities to OCD in terms of symptoms or patterns. They are considered to be part of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum:

obsessive-compulsive-disorder-causes-ocd-how-to-recover-from-ocd-treatment-of-ocd-symptoms-of-ocd

BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER (BDD) 

An excessive preoccupation with a genuine or perceived imperfection or defect in your look, and persistent attention on it or attempts to correct it. The youngster or adolescent may continually compare their looks to others or spend excessive time grooming or staring in the mirror. Others are oblivious to the problem and take it as a small flaw.

EXCORIATION DISORDER

Despite repeated attempts to reduce or stop, picking at skin develops an injury.

HOARDING DISORDER

Major issues with accumulating or refusing to dispose of belongings, despite their true value. The prospect of parting with belongings irritates the individual greatly.

TRICHOTILLOMANIA (HAIR-PULLING DISORDER)

Plucking hair out causes hair loss despite frequent attempts to limit or halt it.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF OCD IN TEENS AND CHILDREN

It is difficult to analyze the signs and symptoms of OCD at a ripe and mature age but noticing certain strange behaviors, obsessions and compulsions might lead you to suspect OCD in children or teens.  Following are some common signs and symptoms that may emerge in teens as a result of OCD:

  • Persistent illogical concerns or anxieties, such as stressing that the door isn’t secured or that the stove is turned off even after it’s been checked.
  • Disturbing ideas occur frequently, and many feel powerless to stop them.
  • Strange or irrational habits that your teen can’t explain, such as repeatedly washing perfectly clean hands or till the skin is raw
  • When anything is out of order, you get agitated or frightened and feel compelled to rectify it immediately away.
  • Performing strange routines, such as spinning three times before leaving the house.
  • Any type of compulsive behavior.
  • Having trouble concentrating at school or when completing homework.
  • Constantly double-checking things. 
  • Worrying that something horrible would happen. 
  • Difficulty developing or maintaining friendships.
  • If they are unable to engage in a compulsive action or if it is interrupted before they have completed it, they become agitated or furious.
  • Depressed mood or anxiety regularly.
  • Suicidal feelings and actions.

OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER TREATMENT FOR TEEN

Obsessions and compulsions can be controlled in a variety of ways. Even if there are just minor symptoms that must be handled regularly. OCD is usually treated with a mix of psychotherapy and medication. If your teen’s symptoms are more serious, or if he or she also has another mental disease, a more extensive degree of therapy for a duration may be necessary.

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PSYCHOTHERAPY

Psychotherapy can help your child understand his or her obsessions and compulsions, as well as the fundamental issues that are driving them. One of the most effective methods of therapy for OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in the form of Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Exposure-response prevention is subjecting a person to the things that make him or her uneasy and teaching them how to cope with their anxiety in a healthy way rather than participating in the compulsive reaction.

MEDICATIONS

Some psychiatric drugs can assist youngsters with OCD to manage their obsessions and compulsions. A serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI), a kind of antidepressant, may be useful to add to the child’s treatment regimen if behavioral treatment is difficult to get or looks to be ineffective. The following are some of the most popular antidepressants that may be used for treating OCD in children:

  • Anafranil (clomipramine)
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Zoloft (Sertraline)

If medicines are being considered, parents should consult with doctors about all options to fully comprehend the dangers and advantages of each medication. Side effects are possible with all psychiatric drugs. Parents should be aware of potential adverse effects, the likelihood of them occurring, how to recognize them, and when to notify their physician about perhaps discontinuing the medication.

DUAL DIAGNOSIS TREATMENT

If your kid has both PTSD and a drug use issue, dual diagnosis therapy is typically required. Individual treatment will nearly always be hampered by the presence of a drug abuse issue. Enrolling your adolescent in a dual diagnosis program allows them to get treated for both conditions at the same time.

obsessive-compulsive-disorder-causes-ocd-how-to-recover-from-ocd-treatment-of-ocd-symptoms-of-ocd-mental-health-issues-psychology

RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT

Residential therapy entails your youngster living in a non-hospital treatment center that specializes in the treatment of teenagers with OCD and other mental health issues. Residential therapy lasts anywhere from 30 to 180 days, depending on the severity of your teen’s symptoms and how well he or she is doing in treatment.

VERDICT

OCD is a mental illness that can hinder your child or teen’s future life as it deteriorates their progress in life. You should always keep a check on your children, the more indulged you are with your children the more easily you can understand their mental, emotional or physical sickness, the more quickly you analyze the mental disorders, the more early they can be treated and be reduced to the minimum level.