Does my child have OCD?

Many parents attend my clinic knowing that their child is anxious but when do you know that your child may have OCD? let’s think what it is, when you need to be worried and how  you can access help.Does my child have OCD

What is OCD ?

Obsessive compulsive Disorder comprises of two parts, obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are always unwanted and can be intrusive. They can be thoughts or even images that and are very upsetting for young people and children.


Some Examples of Obsessions

  • Worrying that they or others members of the family or friends feeling contaminated.
  • Worrying something bad will happen to family members
  • Feeling that you or others may become really ill.
  • Suffering from violent and sexual images
  • Needing everything to be neat and tidy.

Suffering from these thoughts can make your child feel unsafe, sad and uncontained. Your child may then feel that they need to do, certain things to help them to feel safe and these are called “compulsions”, we often call them safety behaviours. Often the compulsion can seem very illogical and the sufferer knows this, so it’s important to recognize this. Suffering from OCD does not mean that your child is being naughty or that they cannot receive help.

Examples of Compulsions or rituals

  • washing your hands lots of times or in a certain way
  • counting or saying things in your head, often this can be certain number, a child I worked with had to do everything in three’s
  • asking the same question over and over again
  • avoiding certain numbers when counting
  • tidying your room lots of times, even though it already looks nice and tidy
  • checking lights switches lots of times
  • checking the door is locked

How does it make your child feel?

Children feel very out of control, they may want to avoid situations and may seek more reassurance. It can often Boss of their lives. For parents this can be hard too as parent can become involved in the OCD.

Is it common?

The Royal college of psychiatry report that OCD can affect people of all ages irrespective of their class, religion or gender. It usually starts in childhood. It is thought that 1–2% of the population have OCD. This means that at least 130 000 young people suffer with OCD.

What causes OCD?

We do not know the cause of OCD for certain. Research suggests it may be due to an imbalance in a brain chemical called ‘serotonin’. It may also run in families and in people with tics (jerky movements) in the family. Very occasionally, OCD can start after an illness. It can also occur after a difficult time in their life like having an accident.

When do I need to worry, red flag

Many children have mild obsessions from time to time that do not interfere with their everyday life or level of distress, my son went through a stage when he suffered from some obsessions, he was very anxious at the time but did not have OCD. Seek help if you respond to yes to the following questions from the Royal College of Psychiatry

  • Do the compulsions upset distress your  child?
  • Do they interfere with the child’s everyday life (e.g. school, friends, etc.)?

If this is the case then seek help via your GP or you can the ask the school if they have  school nurse. They are able to make referral into Child and Adolescent health services or you can contact me for a private consultation.

In addition, this is  great website for OCD click here





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