Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In Children: Diagnosis

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In Children | Caused By Anxiety & Genetics But Triggered By Stress & Fear

Obsessive compulsive disorder in children: What is it, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, effects on your child and prevalence

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What is it?

Obsessive compulsive disorder in children: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that is seen in both adults and children. It is a neurobehavioral disorder that can cause excessive worries, superstitious beliefs or doubts that affect the child’s behaviour, thinking and feelings in a specific way.

The brain gets stuck on a particular thought or urge and just can’t let go. It is an illness, a medical problem and is not under your child’s control.

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How does it look?

OCD consists of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted thoughts, urges or images that are accompanied by negative feelings. A common obsession is the fear of contamination by touching something dirty or ‘germy’.

These uncomfortable thought cause fear and distress. Obsessions make the child distracted, spacy and anxious. This leads to Compulsions that is performing actions that are designed to make these thoughts or obsessions go away.

Thus washing hands is a way to stop worrying about germs and soon it becomes a ritual. They can’t stop the compulsive action.

Typical OCD Symptoms
Common Obsessions Common Compulsions
Fear  of contamination Repeated Washing
Fear of harm to self or others Repeated Checking
Forbidden thoughts Constant Ordering/arranging
Scrupulosity/religiosity Excessive praying
Symmetry urges Constant counting
Need to tell, ask, confess Hoarding

OCD can have associated or comorbid conditions like ADHD, Bipolar disorders, tic or Tourette’s disorders, learning disorders and other anxiety disorders.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In Children | https://www.singhaniaclinic.com/symptoms-of-ocd-in-children/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-in-children/ Caused By Anxiety & Genetics But Triggered By Stress & Fear

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In Children

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How does it affect the child?

The child feels frustrated and depressed because he or she can’t resist the compulsive action. Often this is seen as a bad behavior and the child is constantly told to stop. The child is not only reprimanded but also ridiculed. OCD can interfere with a child’s social life, school life and even completing day to day activity.

How can it be diagnosed

OCD is diagnosed by the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) when recurrent the obsessions and/or compulsions cause marked distress and/or interfere in one’s life.

How often does it occur?

One in 200 children,  which means 3 to 4 children in a school and up to 200 teenagers in high school, may have this disorder. It can start in a prepubertal age when more boys than girls are affected.

However, by adolescence, the ratio of males to females equalizes. Unfortunately, children and adolescents with OCD often go unrecognized and are underdiagnosed and undertreated.

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What causes it

  • OCD is an anxiety disorder that has a considerable genetic component. Some research points to the likelihood that OCD sufferers will have a family member with the OCD or with one of the other disorders in the OCD ‘Spectrum.
  • Stress does not cause it but can trigger it.
  • The biology of OCD lies in the abnormalities in the circuits linking the cortex to the basal ganglia which are parts of the brain.
  • The neurotransmitter or messenger hormone Serotonin has also been implicated. Serotonin is thought to be involved in regulating everything from anxiety to memory, to sleep.
  • Some children begin to exhibit symptoms after a severe infection such as strep throat.  It is thought that the body’s natural response to infection, the production of certain antibodies, when directed to parts of the brain might be linked in some way to Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infection (PANDAS).
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In Children | https://www.singhaniaclinic.com/symptoms-of-ocd-in-children/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-in-children/ Caused By Anxiety & Genetics But Triggered By Stress & Fear

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In Children: Diagnosis was last modified: March 16th, 2017 by Dr. Rajeshree Singhania

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