Children and OCD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) knows no boundaries. Anyone regardless of intellect, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, race and age are exposed to OCD. Not just adults, children can also suffer from it.
For example, this is a story of Ashley, a ten year old girl. She would join her friends to wash her hands every time after eating, and they enjoyed doing this.
However, Ashley was different from her friends because she was unable to resist washing her hands repeatedly once she started. She would end up washing, soaping and drying repeatedly until her hands were extremely dry, cracking and bleeding. She very much wanted to stop, but the thoughts of having germs all over her hands overpowered her to the extent that she did not realise she was injuring herself whilst trying to clean her hands.
Ashley’s parents might think that this habit was not serious, that maybe it was just a part of Ashley’s process of growing up and would just die away as she grew older. It did not cross their minds that Ashley was showing early signs of OCD since she was too young. What they did not know was that this bizarre obsession and compulsion with germs had started to take its toll on Ashley, taking most of her time and energy, resulting in delays with normal routines, affecting her concentrations at school and whilst playing with her friends. At school, she did not want to touch door knobs, took longer in toilets and refused to hold hands with her classmates and teachers. At home, she did not want to touch anything without cleaning or disinfecting it first. Her hands became extremely dry, cracking and itchy as she was using too much soap and using very warm water when cleaning her hands.
Ashley might just be one of many children suffering from OCD. It is the nature of children to be excited and curious of everything around them and to try repeating certain actions to respond to their observations and eagerness to learn and explore new things. Hence, it is not that straightforward to suggest and decide that certain habits become some sort of obsessions or compulsions.
What is OCD? It is a form of anxiety that happens when a person mentally fails to cope with worries and doubts. The factors causing this might be medical or clinical in nature, which should be addressed by taking medications. On the other hand, the factors might be psychological and should be treated appropriately.
Logically, it is much easier to treat children with OCD as their minds are still pure, not corrupted, like a sponge, easily absorb new knowledge and information, unlike adults who already have certain judgements, principles, beliefs and analyses.
Any child with OCD is best to undergo behaviour or psychological treatment. Although takes longer and involves more work and effort, it is more effective in contrasts with clinical treatment which often causes side effects. It is more reassuring to parents, knowing that their child would not depend on any medications.
It is highly recommended that children showing signs of OCD to be treated immediately, as it is very likely that the OCD would totally disappear. Parents should realise that by not doing anything, the OCD would develop as the child grows, which could escalate, becomes more difficult to control and finally occupy the child’s life, which in turn would affect his or her growth and well-being.
In conclusion, OCD is indeed a problem. However, it can be managed if detected early in your child. Consult the doctors immediately if you think that your child has OCD.