Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder that can develop in people of all ages. OCD is marked by obsessive thoughts and recurring compulsions or behaviors.
Children with OCD display ritualistic and uncontrollable behaviors, but these rituals can interfere with their daily life and normal development. One of the factors involved in OCD is that the patient is aware of their compulsive behavior but cannot stop it.
It is believed that OCD may be due to a lack of serotonin in the brain. Obsessive-compulsive disorder also has a genetic component, as the likelihood of a child to have OCD increases if someone in the family has been diagnosed with it as well.
Let’s talk about the main signs and symptoms of OCD in children, and where your child can go for help in overcoming this frustrating disorder.
Symptoms of OCD in Children
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of OCD in children include the following:
- Obsession with germs
- Persistent thoughts of violence or harm inflicted upon others or oneself
- Preoccupation with being orderly or perfectionism
- Persistent thoughts of engaging in inappropriate behavior
- Extreme attention to detail to the point of interfering with completing a task
- A great need to remember even the tiniest details
- Excessive worrying and anxiety
- Aggressive behavior
The obsessive thoughts running through a child’s head may cause them to engage in excessive, time-consuming acts such as:
- Excessive handwashing
- A compulsive need to touch things
- The need to recount things
- A compulsive need to keep checking on a locked door
- Excessive orderliness
- Asking the same questions over and over again
- Repeating sounds or words
How Do I Know if My Child Has OCD?
OCD is marked by obsessiveness and excessiveness that is disruptive, and so it can cause physical and mental harm to your child. However, it does share symptoms with other anxiety disorders, so do not assume an OCD diagnosis.
To get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, have your child see an experienced mental health professional. It is up to the parent and other adults in the child’s life to identify signs of possible OCD, since children usually do not have the awareness that adults have when it comes to identifying abnormal behavior.
Skilled Psychiatrist in New York City
If your child is exhibiting symptoms of OCD, it is time to seek professional help. Dr. Mark Stracks of Psy-Visions is a board-certified psychiatrist with extensive experience treating pediatric and adult patients.
Dr. Stracks has a calm and comforting demeanor that immediately puts his patients at ease. We have been seeing more and more younger patients who are seeking mental help, so you and your family are not alone.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stracks, call us today at (718) 887-2918 or fill out our online request form. We also offer telepsychiatry on a case-by-case basis. Here in New York City, our office is located on Fifth Avenue, just one block north of Madison Square Park. We look forward to helping your child tamp down OCD once and for all.