Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Also known as: OCD.

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a common chronic mental health disorder in children, most being diagnosed in adolescence or young adulthood, characterized by the almost uncontrollable urge to repeat the same behaviors (compulsions) or have the same thoughts (obsessions) or emotions over and over again such that they interfere with day-to-day functioning.

 

What causes obsessive-compulsive disorder? 

While the cause of OCD is unknown, risk factors include genetic predisposition (first-degree relatives of a patient with OCD are at higher risk), brain structural changes, environmental factors (like physical or sexual abuse or other traumatic events) and a possible role for streptococcal infection (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder with Streptococcal Infection -PANDAS).

 

What are the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder? 

Children with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions or both. Common obsessions include a fear of germs, having things in perfect order, unwanted thoughts about religion or sex and aggressive thoughts towards others. Compulsive behaviors include excessive cleaning and handwashing, repeatedly checking things, repetitive counting and other symptoms. These compulsions go beyond the range of what is normal and consume a good portion of a child’s time.

 

What are obsessive-compulsive disorder care options?

OCD is typically treated with medications, and/or psychotherapy (including cognitive behavioral therapy). Other newer forms of treatment may be effective e.g. brain stimulation techniques. Children with OCD may have other mental disorders like anxiety or depression and these need to be addressed when therapy is considered.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 2/22/2018 9:42:33 AM

Weekly Support Programs

​F.O.C.U.S. Program

This group therapy program is designed for children ages 7 to 17 with behaviorial issues, including but not limited to ADHD. This support group meets on Wednesdays.   Learn more.

Calm Kids

Calm Kids is a weekly group therapy course designed to teach children strategies on how to take control over anxiety symptoms. Children will learn how to cope with fears and worries, identify anxiety triggers, how to relax the mind and body and maximize their self-confidence. This group meets on Tuesdays. Learn more.

Camp DMC

Camp DMC is a summer program for children with special needs run by Nicklaus Children’s Dan Marino Outpatient Center. Please note: We will not offer Camp DMC during summer of 2019. Learn more.

Social Skills Group

Children and teens ages 7 to 17 are invited to join this small discussion group to learn how to make, cultivate and maintain friendships. Participants will learn basic conversational skills, and discuss the use of appropriate humor, how to electronically connect with others, and how to manage disagreements. Learn more.