I recently got a shock or a wake-up call when I came across a whole range of individuals who did not realize that OCD in children does occur and it is not the result of some silly childhood characteristic that a child will ‘grow’ out of. What was disturbing for me was to realize the number of teachers that did not know that OCD in children did occur and that it was a problem that they should address and make a definite effort to refer for a fuller professional assessment.
Why Is OCD in Children Important?
Dealing with OCD in children or childhood is important, because 50% of adults who receive treatment for OCD, already had OCD as a child. If you talk to them many will tell of the difficulties and disturbing ideas and experiences they had as kids thinking that something was very wrong with them.
Also, unfortunately, many of them were teased or thought of as being ‘odd’ by their friends.
Poor children, when they could easily have been treated for their difficulties and certainly, both of them and their families could have received supportive therapy and taught coping skills to get them through the difficult moment.
Furthermore, what also is so unfair on the child is to realize that in a large number of instances OCD has a strong genetic base to it and if a child has OCD, it is quite likely that a blood relative also has the difficulty as well. Whether you think it genetic or not, the cause is not important, what is important is for the child to understand that it is not their fault and that there is something that can be done about it and they do not have to hide away in shame.
What’s Has Been Your Experience With OCD In Children?
I was rather surprised to find that there was so little knowledge about OCD in children in circles I expected to be better informed.
David Beckham and his OCD
Here is a picture of someone you may know who suffers from OCD. There are also numerous other famous people who also suffer OCD and have achieved remarkable success.
OCD does run in families and there is such a thing as OCD in children. Why some people get it and others do not, generally and within families is not known.
What Cause OCD In Children?
Although the cause of OCD is not known, research work has given some clues. Because the medication that works well in OCD acts on a specific chemical, serotonin, which we all have in our brains, it is possible that people who get OCD have an imbalance in serotonin.
More and more research however is being done on what areas of the brain and neurotransmitters are involved in anxiety and fear.
Psychological factors such as susceptibility to stress or exposure to an emotionally traumatic experience are also likely to be in evidence. The good news is that, for the majority, OCD can be effectively controlled and treated.
One of the main benefits of understanding that OCD is likely to be a neurobiological disorder is that it helps people and families realize that it is not their fault. Children, adolescents, adults, and their families do not cause OCD, but they can learn ways to challenge it!
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