Some children receive effective therapy and never have OCD symptoms again; others will have it for the rest of their life, with some times being better than others. It may disappear in childhood only to reappear in maturity. In such cases, these episodes are called "spontaneous remissions."
A child who has been diagnosed with OCD should know that it is an ongoing condition that must be treated by a professional therapist. Children's OCD symptoms can be managed so that they do not interfere with schoolwork or other daily activities. Therapy will usually include both parent and child sessions. The primary goal of treatment is to reduce or eliminate obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors enough so that adhering to a routine no longer requires constant monitoring.
It is possible for a child to grow out of his or her obsession. For example, if a child fears he or she will get sick from touching something dirty, then he or she would be able to grow out of this obsession once they realize that they are not actually getting sick when they touch dirty things. However, it is unlikely that a child would simply stop thinking about harming themselves or others because they grew out of their fear. A child with OCD could have symptoms in one area of their life but not another. For example, a child might have contamination obsessions but not experience distress from avoiding people who are sick.
Without therapy, OCD does not usually go away on its own, and it is likely to remain into adulthood. In fact, many people who are diagnosed with OCD say that some symptoms began in infancy.
With appropriate treatment, however, most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder can improve significantly. And research shows that those who receive continuous therapy over an extended period of time are most likely to achieve long-term relief of their symptoms.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the first line of treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder. It focuses on changing how someone thinks about themselves and their surroundings which seems to break the cycle of anxiety and obsessions.
In addition, behavioral experiments are used to determine what triggers an obsession or compulsion. Once these triggers have been identified, the person with OCD can be taught different strategies for dealing with them effectively. These strategies can then be put into practice using exposure and response prevention.
Finally, medication can play an important role in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Drugs commonly used to treat depression and anxiety may be prescribed by your doctor if you suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder and do not respond to CBT alone. There are also new medications being developed that target specific aspects of cognitive behavior theory that may provide additional benefits beyond what is seen with traditional treatments.
It's not going away on its own. In addition, children with OCD may have additional emotional health issues later in life. It is critical to get expert help for your child if he or she suffers from OCD.
Research shows that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective in treating children and adolescents with OCD. Treatment typically includes:
In vivo exposure - using real-life situations to confront your fears. For example, a child with contamination fears might be asked to sit next to someone who has cancer by wearing the person's clothes.
Responsibility assignment - teaching children that fear, anxiety, and worry are normal reactions to threatening circumstances but they do not need to control them. For example, a child who is afraid of hurting others would be taught that his or her reaction of worrying about it happening again means that he or she is taking an important step toward overcoming his or her fear.
Cognitive restructuring - focusing on how one's thoughts affect one's feelings and behaviors to identify and change negative thinking patterns.
Behavioral experiments - exposing themselves to the things they fear in small steps over time to see how they react. For example, a child might start by sitting next to someone who has cancer without washing first.
OCD is a severe disorder that may have a significant impact on the lives of young people and their families. OCD can linger throughout adulthood if not treated. However, research shows that effective treatment can lead to improvement or resolution of symptoms in adults as well as children.
There are many different forms of therapy available for children with OCD, including behavioral therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure and response prevention (ERP), and medication. In some cases, more than one type of treatment is needed to resolve all of the patient's symptoms. The best approach will depend on the specific symptoms that need attention.
In this article we'll take a look at how pediatric OCD affects children's mental health and what types of treatment are available for this population.
Pediatric OCD is defined as having onset of symptoms by age 14 years old. It is important to recognize that children and adolescents with OCD experience the same symptoms as adults do but often have trouble communicating them effectively. This can result in misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, which could affect the course of treatment.
OCD may be devastating and disabling if not treated. The typical OCD sufferer suffers for more than 7 years before seeking assistance, frequently because he or she is ashamed or uninformed that this mental condition may be treated. The symptoms of OCD vary greatly from person to person. For some people, their symptoms are minor, while others suffer severely. In most cases, however, there is a difference between normal anxieties and true OCD fears. Normal anxieties include worries about something happening under our control (like losing my keys) or something that is out of our control (like being struck by lightning). True OCD fears are irrational judgments that certain acts will cause us harm or disaster. These fears can prevent us from living our lives.
For example, a person with OCD might have problems eating in public because of an obsession that food tastes better when eaten alone. This person would also avoid shaking hands because of a fear that doing so would cause him or her to get sick. Such fears are called "obsessions" because they stem from thoughts that keep returning unbidden to the mind. Taking drugs or alcohol to cope with these fears is never effective because the symptoms will return once the object of the obsession is gone. In addition, any success at alleviating the fears increases the person's anxiety since he or she believes they will still feel bad even after taking the action required to escape from the situation.
OCD manifests itself in two stages of life: pre-adolescence and early adulthood. The initial surge of OCD cases occurs between the ages of 10 and 12 years. This period is typically accompanied by increased scholastic and performance expectations, as well as the biological changes in the brain and body that follow puberty. During this time, adolescents are particularly prone to obsessive thoughts related to their appearance, sexuality, and relationships. For example, a young person might obsess about having a scar on his knee or whether he looks fat in his jeans.
In adulthood, approximately 25% of individuals with OCD experience a worsening of their symptoms over time. This "comeback" occurs because those patients who were originally severely impaired are now better able to cope with their symptoms. Those who were not severely affected to begin with are less likely to experience a comeback.
The presence of a comeback pattern does not necessarily indicate that an individual will relapse if the trigger for his or her recovery episode is removed. For example, a patient may learn how to resist engaging in certain thought patterns that led to symptom exacerbation before deciding to go into remission for several months or years. If someone is determined to keep suffering, a comeback pattern will always occur after some time has passed.
It is important to remember that adolescence is a period of great change.