Early signs and symptoms of Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in children
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which the brain of the affected individual gets jammed on one particular notion or idea. The thought process of the child becomes compulsive and the child begins to feel that if a certain disorder or action is not repeated, something bad or terrible is likely to take place. Very often the child gets signals from the brain that the situation could be life-threatening if a certain action of idea is not repeated again and again. This thought process causes the child to get extremely worried and alarmed and the child gets signals in the form of feelings from the brain to go on and on repeating a certain task or disorder. It is this obsessive disorder which is caused due to certain obsessions in the brain of the affected child and causes the disorder.
The repetition of thoughts, ideas and notions signaled from the brain of the individual are known as obsessions, causing the child to behave in a particularly distinct manner. These thoughts and obsessions are not normal. Sometimes children do tend to ignore or repress these obsessive and compulsive thoughts with some other act. For instance, a child who is inundated with some particular doubts or worries, like washing the hands to keep them clean, will constantly keep washing the hands again and again to ensure that they are absolutely clean and germ free. The child goes on repeating the action incessantly and obsessively.
When affected with the OCD disorder, the child experiences obsessive thoughts and notions to behave in a particular manner. The compulsions or habits which the child constantly performs or indulges in, to get relief from the apprehension of the obsessive thoughts, are known as compulsions. For instance, the fear of dirt and germs may cause a child to clean the surface of the table repeatedly or to wash the plate constantly.
It is very important for the family and the teachers to understand that the child is not in control of this disorder, and is directed by the brain to obsessively and compulsively perform some action or the other. Some of the very common symptoms of the disorder include the fear of germs and dirt, the feeling of harm to oneself or someone else, the constant occurrence of forbidden thoughts, extreme doubts regarding religion, unstoppable instances of washing, checking, counting and touching.
Consequences of OCD
If obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is not treated in childhood, the disorder becomes long term and poses many problems to the overall development and growth of the child. This development may not simply be academic but in most cases personal as well as professional and societal too. If the disorder is neglected, over longer periods of time individuals tend to experience symptoms of gradual weakening. Obsessions and rituals tend to take up the maximum time of their daily duties and this could ultimately lead to depressions and chronic anxiety disorders. The children who are not treated may spend a great deal of their regular time in rituals, owing to which there may be lack of focus on the more important academic and social functions. The time wasted in perfection of the written assignments in class or at home due to the compulsions will make the child lag behind in the class and studies. Friendships will also suffer due to the wastage of time in the rituals of cleanliness and perfection. All this is most likely to result in bad results and in most cases even failure which will ultimately lead to low self esteem, lack of confidence and finally depression in the affected children. As such it is highly important that the disorder is diagnosed at the correct time and treated as soon as it is recognized. Childhood is a prime stage in the development of the personality of the child, and great care and caution must be exercised to see that the future of children is not in jeopardy due to the obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in children.
The obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in children has been typically known as an anxiety disorder, as fear and apprehension is the prime facet of the disorder. However, in order to achieve optimal results of treatment among children, both the characteristics, psychological as well as neurobiological must be carefully considered and taken into account when treating the children.
Not all treatment will respond equally to the same treatment, and as such the psychological aspect needs to be considered in great detail.
According to a review in the Cochrane Library issue dated October 18th, the severity of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in children and adolescents can be effectively reduced by the treatment of cognitive disorderal therapy (Medical news today). The treatment is believed to reduce the anguish and apprehensions among children and adolescents. Researcher O’Kearney, (director of clinical training for psychology at the Australian National University) and his colleagues affirm that cognitive disorderal therapy along with therapeutic medication has been proved to be effective in treating children with the disorder.