OCD Chicago

Your Child Can Get Better With Effective Treatment
Information for Parents

What Is OCD?

OCD is a neurobiological anxiety disorder.  It is not something a child chooses to have, nor does a child have any control over how it affects them, or how they react to it when left untreated.  OCD is not a behavior choice.  Children with OCD suffer from obsessions and compulsions that distress them significantly enough to interfere with daily functioning and relationships.

Read the clinical definition of OCD as applied to adults

What OCD Isn’t

How To Recognize the Symptoms of OCD in Children

OCD is diagnosed when obsessions and compulsions are time consuming, cause significant distress and interfere with daily functioning in school, social activities, family relationships or normal routines.

Neither parents nor children cause the characteristic symptoms of childhood OCD:  “bad thoughts”, fears or worries. Inside the brain of a child with OCD, the fears or worries get “stuck”—the child can’t stop thinking about them.  Some children have described these thoughts as like having a monster locked inside their head.  It’s always there, and it’s always active, making bad thoughts happen.  These obsessions lead to great distress and, depending on the age of the child, may be hidden for a time or may be easily visible as the compulsions take more and more time out of the child’s life.

Sometimes the behavior can be confusing, and in many children, the obsessions and compulsions “shift” from one focus to another. Generally, the compulsions must take up a lot of time (such as an hour or more each day or evening) to be considered OCD.  And when the child’s compulsions, or rituals, are interrupted, the child may become upset, agitated or angry.

As a parent you are in the best position to observe the behavior and recognize symptoms.

Learn more about OCD symptoms

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