Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD in Children: Signs, Symptoms & Support in York, Manchester & online.

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive  Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition what can affect people of all ages, including children and young people. It usually causes a specific pattern of behaviours, thoughts and actions, commonly called ‘compulsions’ or ‘obsessions’ which can interfere with the daily life of your child or young person. Many children and young people do not have a diagnosis of OCD, but may have repetitive behaviours that could lead to the development of OCD.

Obsessions tend to be unwanted and overwhelming thoughts, images, urges or worries which echo in your child or teenager’s mind. They may experience more than one type, and these are often linked together.

Compulsions are repetitive activities they feel they must do. Compulsive behaviour happens as a response trying to reduce or prevent the distress caused by obsessive thoughts. They might temporarily relieve this anxiety, but often the obsession will return, causing the cycle to repeat. They might feel that it doesn’t make sense to do these compulsive activities but find the idea of stopping the compulsive action hard and even scary.


Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Each child or teenager will experience OCD differently, but it has three main elements which includes:

Obsessions – where an unwanted, intrusive, and often distressing thought, image or urge repeatedly enters someone’s thoughts

Emotions – the obsession causes a feeling of intense anxiety or distress

Compulsions – repetitive behaviours or mental acts that a person with OCD feels driven to perform as a result of the anxiety and distress caused by the obsession

Common types of compulsive behaviour in children and young people with OCD may include:

Fear of dirt or germs

Fear of contamination

A need for symmetry, order, and precision

Regular obsessions

Fear of illness or harm coming to oneself or relatives

Preoccupation with household items

Intrusive sounds or words


How to deal with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

We understand that if your child or teenager has obsessions and compulsions, it can affect your whole household. You may feel you need to accommodate your child and teenager’s rituals which can put additional pressures on the family.

It is important you make your child or teenager feel loved and supported, and to try and talk to them about how they are feeling and what may be worrying them alongside their compulsions and obsessions. For example, they may be feeling anxious about their health.


When to get help with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

If your child or teenager has OCD, let them know that there is nothing to be embarrassed about and that it is a health condition like any other. Like health conditions, it needs treatment as it will not go away on its own and so professional help is advised.

We understand seeking therapy can be daunting for both you and your child and that taking the first step can be hard. We have a team of professional and friendly child therapists who can work together with you and your child to design a bespoke and flexible treatment which works best for them. Our children’s therapy services are available for children and teenagers aged 5 to 17, at our clinics in York, Manchester and online.

Please get in touch using the form below to find out more about how we can help.

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