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Mama_Cakes's avatar

How are children with OCD treated?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (9824points) February 14th, 2013

Anyone know or have had experience dealing with a child who suffers from OCD?

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11 Answers

rojo's avatar

@Mama_Cakes I do not have any direct experience with OCD. However, my son was ADHD and I think I would be fairly safe in saying that any of these types of disorders that place a child outside what is considered the “normal” range of behaviors is going to place an additional burden upon the child. In a school setting, once the child is diagnosed as being different, the teaching staff is going to be hyper aware and looking for whatever problems are associated with the particular difficulty. Small things that might be overlooked will be highlighted with the labeled child. If this is your child, you will have to fight tooth and nail to get any kind of normalcy for you child. But, do not give up and do not give in to the assigned program. Demand that they treat the child no differently than the rest of them. I would advise that if there is any way possible, do not allow any kind of labelling to occur. Once it is in place it is almost impossible to get out from under the cloud of suspicion that is placed on the child.

wildpotato's avatar

Me – lightly affected; no treatment. It went away almost entirely with age (~18). I also had/have mild Tourette’s, which some people think is interrelated with OCD.

My brother – moderately affected. He uses medication to control his symptoms, though they also abated somewhat when he turned 17–18. It took a really long time – like 12 years – to get his drug combo correct, as side effects for these sorts of medicines would aggravate his Tourette’s and ADHD, and vice versa.

I wish we had thought to explore support groups or something; hearing other kids’ experiences would have been helpful.

Rarebear's avatar

Behavioral modification therapy and medications

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@rojo It’s my niece.

lillycoyote's avatar

As @Rarebear points out, yes, behavior modification and medications, but when treating children, particularly, I think it is extremely important to make sure that the child has been properly diagnosed and that the treatment is tailored to the child. One of the great things about catching a treating these disorders early, in childhood, is that kids can get help coping with the disorder before they learn a lifetime of bad habits they use to either minimize, cope with or avoid their problems as they might without treatment.

But I think care needs to be taken. It is no small thing to medicate and use behavioral modification on a small child who is in the very earliest of developmental stages. You must be careful to treat the pathology only, and not the personality; the essence, the developing personhood, if that makes any sense to anyone.

jerv's avatar

Depends on the cause. There is comorbidity with other things, so what may cure some cases may make others worse by being exactly the wrong thing to do to someone with the underlying disorder. Just ask @wildpotato about that.

So tell me, do you know the difference between Autism, Aspergers, ADD/ADHD, and just plain OCD? Many doctors don’t.

@lillycoyote That was part of why I was never medicated; they had no idea what was wrong with me until well after I hit adulthood, but unlike many doctors,schools, and parents it was decided that it was best not to just keep trying stuff until something worked and risk scrambling my brain in the process.

lillycoyote's avatar


It’s all so very complicated. Psychiatry, though they have made great strides in both the science, the understanding of psychiatric disorders, and treatment, it is still, really, not an “exact science.”

ADD, ADHD, OCD, Autism, Aspergers, etc. are real disorders, with real consequences, and while I think some of these disorders may be over-diagnosed, particularly ADD and ADHD, but you don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as they say. And how to treat children with these disorders is a very tough call, I think. If medications and certain types of treatments can really help a child then the children need to be treated.

Proper treatment, early on can save some of these kids a lifetime of disfunction, but as I said, I don’t think it’s quite an “exact science” yet. And until it is, people, children, will get treatment they don’t need, to their detriment, perhaps, and people, children, won’t get the treatment they need, to their detriment also, I think.

marinelife's avatar

My nephews have it. They were treated with therapy and medication for much of their lives. It was very helpful.

answerjill's avatar

The “gold standard” for OCD treatment these days is ERP (Exposure Response Prevention), otherwise known as exposure therapy. With the help of a specialist, the sufferer is exposed to things that trigger his/her fears until s/he becomes desensitized. It can work for children or adults. For adults, ERP is usually supplemented with medication (often Prozac or certain other anti-depressants). I am not sure how meds are handled for kids. I think that it is important to take this disorder seriously when it arises in kids and make sure that they get the proper treatment. See for a wealth of information.

XOIIO's avatar


Really, what’s the big problem with OCD? I have it to some extent and sure it gets in the way sometimes but you get used to it, and if you are doing something that involves detail it helps since you can’t walk away until it’s perfect.

answerjill's avatar

@XOIIO – OCD can be a very big problem for lots of people. It can be a debilitating mental illness. Consider yourself lucky if you only have some mild OCD tendencies.

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