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From Medicineworld.org: Obsessive Behaviors May Undermine Child's Development

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Obsessive Behaviors May Undermine Child's Development


We all remember as children how the boys didn't want to be touched by the girls because they had "cooties." All children have worries and doubts, but when they begin to obsess about them, it might hamper their ability to function.

"We all have little obsessions and compulsions here and there, but a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder isn't given unless the behavior begins to impede with how the child functions," said Dr. Throstur Bjorgvinsson, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences with the Menninger Department of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "The child may have trouble sleeping, check their homework over and over again, or not have friends over because they are afraid they might bring germs in the house.".

OCD is an anxiety disorder that if left untreated can take over a person's life. Children suffering from OCD develop disturbing, obsessive thoughts that cause fear or anxiety. To get rid of the thoughts and relieve the fear, they perform rituals, which provide temporary relief.

Obsessions are recurrent and intrusive thoughts, impulses or images. Typical obsessions are: fear of dirt or contamination, concern with order, fear of harming a family member or friend and fear of thinking evil or sinful thoughts. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors such as, excessive hand washing or repeatedly checking things, and mental acts like repeatedly counting to the same number or praying, that they do in response to the obsession.

The biggest danger of not recognizing the symptoms of OCD is that children might spend so much time trying to fight the disorder that they may fall behind school and their relationships may also suffer.

Bjorgvinsson says the first line of treatment of OCD is through a cognitive behavioral psychotherapy program called exposure and response prevention. CBT helps children confront their fears and find new ways of dealing with them.

"If a child fears touching books that aren't new, we're going to get them to touch old books and not allow them to wash their hands," said Bjorgvinsson, also director of the obsessive compulsive disorders treatment program at the Menninger Clinic. "Depending on the severity of the OCD, it commonly takes about 12 to 20 sessions for the child to be able to manage their compulsions."

If the child suffers from severe OCD, antidepressants may be prescribed in combination with therapy.

"It's important to use the treatments appropriately to avoid the long-term adverse effects of OCD on the child's development," he said.


Did you know?
We all remember as children how the boys didn't want to be touched by the girls because they had "cooties." All children have worries and doubts, but when they begin to obsess about them, it might hamper their ability to function."We all have little obsessions and compulsions here and there, but a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder isn't given unless the behavior begins to impede with how the child functions," said Dr. Throstur Bjorgvinsson, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences with the Menninger Department of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "The child may have trouble sleeping, check their homework over and over again, or not have friends over because they are afraid they might bring germs in the house.".

Medicineworld.org: Obsessive Behaviors May Undermine Child's Development

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