OCD In Children: Does My Child Have OCD?

Unfortunately OCD in children is a fact.

OCD can affect children, adolescents and adults. At least half of the people who get OCD or seek help for their OCD already had OCD in their childhood.

Often OCD In Children Does Not Receive Treatment

Unfortunately many of these children do not get treatment.

This is very surprising as OCD does run family true and you would expect that someone in the family would recognize the symptoms and do something about it. If you look into the families of the children with OCD you will see one or two adults with OCD or another with involuntary jerky movements (tics) that the family explain as something else.

It may be that it is not believed that you can get OCD in children, but it is true; there is such a thing as OCD in children.

These children might not have received treatment because:

  • Their parents were embarrassed about it and did not tell anyone
  • Teachers did not recognize the difficulties the child was having or thought they would just 'snap' out of it
  • The doctors they consulted did not know how to diagnose or treat OCD in children.
  • While awareness of the disorder has increased, many health care and educational professionals still do not understand or recognise OCD and therefore are unable to diagnose it.

    Why Do Children Get OCD?

    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, but it is related to some psycho-biological processes, involving genetics, neurological characteristics and environment.

    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 manage and live with it!

    OCD Spectrum Disorders

    OCD Spectrum Disorders also arise during childhood, more often during adolescence and they are part of OCD in Children spectrum as well.

  • Compulsive hair pulling (Trichotillomania) also starts in childhood and is equally common amongst both boys and girls
  • Compulsive skin picking (CSP) commonly starts in the teen years, but can occur early than as well.
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) often becomes apparent during adolescence and can be quite well embedded in the mid-teens along with the Eating Disorders.