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How to Identify OCD in Children

How to identify OCD in children

OCD is something that millions of people deal with on a daily basis, including children. When it comes to OCD in children, parents should know what to expect. Without the proper knowledge of this disorder, parenting can end up being much more difficult than it would be otherwise. Learning what OCD is will be the first step for any parent that suspects their child has this disorder. When a child or adult has OCD they will have thoughts, images or impulses throughout the day that they will obsess about. The obsessive thoughts aren't the only things that sufferers have to deal with. They can also end up with compulsions, which are behaviors and rituals that have to be done in order for the individual to feel alright.

When someone has OCD they are going to obsess over something over and over until they do the ritual that calms them down. This could be something like flipping a light switch 20 times before leaving the house or changing clothes twice before bed. More than just the ritual, people also obsess over fears that cause them a lot of anxiety. There are a lot of different types of OCD out there, especially when it comes to children.


It can be difficult for a lot of parents to identify this in their own children because kids are unpredictable as it is.

Symptoms parents should look for

Children don't always express their emotions out loud because they don't know how to. This is why it's so important to look for the actions that children are doing as they grow up. For example, some children will start hoarding things. This might not be their toys; it could be things like food, gum wrappers, stickers or other small items. If they are becoming obsessed with one item, that is a huge sign that OCD might be in the works.

Another common symptom of OCD is a child that excessively cleans. While most parents would feel this is a good thing, it can actually show that a child is developing a ritual and compulsion. Parents can identify excessive cleaners by keeping track of their cleaning supplies and just taking notice of the cleanliness of their space, especially the bedroom of the child. Parents have to keep a close eye on their child when they feel there is a mental illness like OCD on the horizon.

Children also tend to repeat themselves over and over when they are showing signs of this disorder. This might include them saying one thing over and over because they think it didn't sound right in the first place. Kids who erase their homework and re-write things numerous times generally have this disorder. Their anxiety for not sounding or writing correctly can cause a lot of distress.

When a son or daughter is extremely worried about getting sick, parents should see red flags. Kids who are scared of germs and feel they are going to get sick all the time tend to have problems with anxiety. This might just be the beginning of a long road towards further obsessive-compulsive issues. Fear of germs is one of the most common symptoms that children and adults show when they determine they have this disorder.

Things parents should keep in mind

All children are different with the way they act and develop during childhood. Just because kids show one behavior doesn't necessarily mean that they have this or any other disorder. No parent should take it upon themselves to diagnose their little one. Instead, they should take their kid to a therapist who can talk with the child in a way that is comfortable for them. A doctor can also run tests to help determine if the child is showing signs of OCD.

The information the therapist or doctor gets can help them determine if there is something wrong and what treatment options are the best. Kids should feel safe speaking with adults, like their parents, and therapists about what they are feeling. Building a strong relationship can give the child a comfortable space where they can discuss what is going on and how they are feeling on a daily basis. Good communication can make diagnosing any disorder a lot easier for everyone.


Article Source: David Rodrigue

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