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Obsessive-Compulsive disorder is a very common disorder among adults. There are many people in this society who do not realize that children can also get this certain disorder. This disorder affects about two or three people out of every hundred. The two main symptoms are obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are upsetting thoughts, pictures that keep coming into your mind even though you do not want them to. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors (e.

g. hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e. g. praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied fanatical. (Levenkron, 1991) For the remainder of the paper, I will be exploring the causes and the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder in children and adolescents, and giving examples of Children and adults with OCD have similar obsessions and compulsions. Approximately eighty percent of adults with this disorder have their onset during their childhood or teenage years. The sad thing that I feel is that there are not enough studies done on children and teenagers to learn more about the disorder that many of these juveniles acquire.

I believe that if there were more studies done on children who are either depressed or obsessive over something then some of these problems could get Some of the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder in children and teens are; adolescents are that they are afraid of getting dirty or catching germs and they may spend a lot of time worrying about lucky and unlucky numbers. These children also spend an abundance of time trying to make everything around them perfect. Just about everyone thinks about things like this but, children with OCD worry so much about these that they are on their mind the whole day everyday. Every second of the say they are thinking about this and trying to fix things in their mind that sometimes are not fixable. The more that someone with this disorder does this the more uncomfortable they feel. Children often ask the question, "Can I catch OCD?" If they hear about the disorder they There are very few causes of this disorder.

Basically there is no simple way to explain the causes of OCD. No one is exactly sure what the accurate causes are, but through learning more about it and doing more studies there are some things that doctors would say that are the causes. It is the thought that the causes are a combination of both mental and physical factors. Physically a chemical in your brain, called serotonin, may play a role. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder may not have enough of this in their brain.

This is the reason that medicines that increase the amount of serotonin in the brain can decrease the symptoms of OCD. Compulsive rituals actually strengthen the disorder because although the rituals are not "pleasing" to the person, they actually reduce the anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts (American Family Physician, 1998). Any ritual that helps the anxiety "go away" is likely to be repeated. When ever someone performs a compulsive ritual, they avoid having to actually face the thing or things that they are afraid of.

For example, if a child were to wash their hands aver and over, they do not have to worry about getting dirty or catching any germs. Another example is that if someone with OCD repeatedly checks to make sure that their door is locked, they do not have to worry about the door being unlocked. This helps to sustain obsessive-compulsive disorder because to overcome a fear, one must face that fear. I believe that many parents do not look for this disorder in their children because they do not want to "face the music" if their children do have OCD.

It is my feeling that many parent think that this could never happen o their child although it could really happen to anyone, no matter who they are. There are some treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder in children. One treatment is the serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) sertraline. This a safe and effective short-tern treatment for children with OCD.

The recommended initial doses are twenty- five mg once daily for children who are between the ages of six and twelve, and fifty mg a day for teens between thirteen and seventeen (Bradbury, 1998). The efficacy of exposure and responsive prevention and the potential contribution of parental involvement in treatment were investigated for four children with principal DSM-III-R diagnoses of OCD referred to the Center for Stress and Anxiety Disorders, Child and Adolescent Fear and Anxiety Treatment Program. Monitoring consisted of parent and child diaries of obsessive-compulsive symptoms and daily child Subjective Units of Distress (SUDS) ratings for a ten-item hierarchy. Results through twelve-month follow-up suggest that exposure and response prevention with parental involvement shows promise in the treatment of childhood treatment. (Knox, There are other remedies for people with this disorder, but children would not be equally responsive to the same treatment as an adult would.

There is behavior therapy which specifically includes exposure with response (ritual) prevention, which is the most effective treatment currently available (Tompkins, 1999). In this type of therapy, individuals expose themselves gradually to the fear that they have. As their treatment progresses, individuals gradually experience less anxiety and fewer urges to ritualize. Medications have proved effective in controlling OCD symptoms. However, many people relapse when they stop taking their medication.

For this reason, many clinicians recommend behavior therapy, or behavior therapy and medication. Some of the time, people may find that their obsessions and compulsions are weaker and do not happen as often, but they may not completely go away. I think that if behavior therapy is working as well as they say then children should not have to go on any medication. Why make the child take medication when there is a risk of addiction or overdose? If therapy is just as effective, if not more, than I think that a parent should have their child go through therapy rather than taking any medication at all. I have a couple of examples of children who have this disorder.

The first example is an eleven-year-old boy named Corey Hobbs who is from Dallas, Texas. He began treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder when he was only nine-years-old (Emilie, 1999). At that time he said, "I want to know more about it. " He now says "I didn't know anything about it, either, but now I've learned a lot. " It was his mother who noticed it first. It started out that school was getting to be a problem. He was still getting A's, but he was obsessed with doing more and more. If he could not finish a test, he would get really upset and keep saying, "I have to finish, I have to finish!" He said that he also knew that he was depressed.

All he wanted to do at home was clean and clean. He never wanted to go outside and play with his friends. Besides cleaning, Hobbs was obsessed with touching and rearranging things. He would always smell unpleasant odors because they bothered him so much. He became overly upset when his friends behaved in ways that he did not approve. Hobbs was treated with behavior therapy and medication and is doing quite well.

He has learned to balance doing homework and playing with his friends. Another example is a fifteen-year-old girl named Olivia. Olivia would take shower for at least an hour and a half every night. After that she would arrange her books for an hour before she would start he homework. When her homework was complete- about midnight-she starts her selection of the clothing that she is going to wear the next day which would take her about an hour.

She would get up really bright and early the next morning, but by the time she would get to school the next morning, after all of her rituals, she would be a half-an-hour or so late to her first class. Olivia is going through behavior therapy and doing respectably well. All in all, I have learned a lot about obsessive-compulsive disorder in children. In this term paper I have showed that there are many symptoms, few causes, and even treatments for this disorder.

Children who have this disorder and far and few between, compared to adults, but doctors are finding more and more cases a day. By addressing this problem of our society today, less children will feel like they are "going crazy." Bibliography:

Free research essays on topics related to: e g, behavior therapy, learned a lot, obsessions and compulsions, obsessive compulsive disorder

Research essay sample on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In Children

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

Signs and Symptoms

People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships.

Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Common symptoms include:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. Common compulsions include:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting

Not all rituals or habits are compulsions. Everyone double checks things sometimes. But a person with OCD generally:

  • Can't control his or her thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive
  • Spends at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts or behaviors
  • Doesn’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but may feel brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause
  • Experiences significant problems in their daily life due to these thoughts or behaviors

Some individuals with OCD also have a tic disorder. Motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements, such as eye blinking and other eye movements, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head or shoulder jerking. Common vocal tics include repetitive throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds.

Symptoms may come and go, ease over time, or worsen. People with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions, or they may use alcohol or drugs to calm themselves. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing doesn’t make sense, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary. Parents or teachers typically recognize OCD symptoms in children.

If you think you have OCD, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. If left untreated, OCD can interfere in all aspects of life.

Risk Factors

OCD is a common disorder that affects adults, adolescents, and children all over the world. Most people are diagnosed by about age 19, typically with an earlier age of onset in boys than in girls, but onset after age 35 does happen. For statistics on OCD in adults, please see the NIMH Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Among Adults webpage.

The causes of OCD are unknown, but risk factors include:


Twin and family studies have shown that people with first-degree relatives (such as a parent, sibling, or child) who have OCD are at a higher risk for developing OCD themselves. The risk is higher if the first-degree relative developed OCD as a child or teen. Ongoing research continues to explore the connection between genetics and OCD and may help improve OCD diagnosis and treatment.

Brain Structure and Functioning

Imaging studies have shown differences in the frontal cortex and subcortical structures of the brain in patients with OCD. There appears to be a connection between the OCD symptoms and abnormalities in certain areas of the brain, but that connection is not clear. Research is still underway. Understanding the causes will help determine specific, personalized treatments to treat OCD.


People who have experienced abuse (physical or sexual) in childhood or other trauma are at an increased risk for developing OCD.

In some cases, children may develop OCD or OCD symptoms following a streptococcal infection—this is called Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS). For more information, please read this fact sheet on PANDAS.

Treatments and Therapies

OCD is typically treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. Although most patients with OCD respond to treatment, some patients continue to experience symptoms.

Sometimes people with OCD also have other mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphic disorder, a disorder in which someone mistakenly believes that a part of their body is abnormal. It is important to consider these other disorders when making decisions about treatment.


Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used to help reduce OCD symptoms. Examples of medications that have been proven effective in both adults and children with OCD include clomipramine, which is a member of an older class of “tricyclic” antidepressants, and several newer “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors” (SSRIs), including:

SRIs often require higher daily doses in the treatment of OCD than of depression, and may take 8 to 12 weeks to start working, but some patients experience more rapid improvement.

If symptoms do not improve with these types of medications, research shows that some patients may respond well to an antipsychotic medication (such as risperidone). Although research shows that an antipsychotic medication may be helpful in managing symptoms for people who have both OCD and a tic disorder, research on the effectiveness of antipsychotics to treat OCD is mixed.

If you are prescribed a medication, be sure you:

  • Talk with your doctor or a pharmacist to make sure you understand the risks and benefits of the medications you're taking.
  • Do not stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first. Suddenly stopping a medication may lead to "rebound" or worsening of OCD symptoms. Other uncomfortable or potentially dangerous withdrawal effects are also possible.
  • Report any concerns about side effects to your doctor right away. You may need a change in the dose or a different medication.
  • Report serious side effects to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online at or by phone at 1-800-332-1088. You or your doctor may send a report.

Other medications have been used to treat OCD, but more research is needed to show the benefit for these options. For basic information about these medications, you can visit the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Mental Health Medications webpage. For the most up-to-date information on medications, side effects, and warnings, visit the FDA website.


Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for adults and children with OCD. Research shows that certain types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and other related therapies (e.g., habit reversal training) can be as effective as medication for many individuals. Research also shows that a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP) is effective in reducing compulsive behaviors in OCD, even in people who did not respond well to SRI medication. For many patients EX/RP is the add-on treatment of choice when SRIs or SSRIs medication does not effectively treat OCD symptoms.

Other Treatment Options

NIMH is supporting research into new treatment approaches for people whose OCD does not respond well to the usual therapies. These new approaches include combination and add-on (augmentation) treatments, as well as novel techniques such as deep brain stimulation (DBS). You can learn more about brain stimulation therapies on the NIMH website.

Finding Treatment

For general information on mental health and to locate treatment services in your area, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA also has a Behavioral Health Treatment Locator on its website that can be searched by location. You can also visit the NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses page for more information and resources.

Join a Study

Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions, including OCD. During clinical trials, investigated treatments might be new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways to use existing treatments. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Although individual participants may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.

Please Note: Decisions about whether to apply for a clinical trial and which ones are best suited for a given individual are best made in collaboration with a licensed health professional.

Clinical Trials at NIMH/NIH

Scientists at the NIMH campus conduct research on numerous areas of study, including cognition, genetics, epidemiology, brain imaging, and treatment development. The studies take place at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and require regular visits. After the initial phone interview, you will come to an appointment at the clinic and meet with a clinician. For more information, visit NIMH Clinical Trials — Participants or Join a Study.

Decisions about whether to apply for a clinical trial and which ones are best suited for a given individual are best made in collaboration with a licensed health professional.

How Do I Find a Clinical Trial Near Me?

To find a clinical trial near you, visit This is a searchable registry and results database of federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. gives you information about a trial's purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details. This information should be used in conjunction with advice from health professionals.

For more information about participating in clinical trials, visit NIH Clinical Trials and You.

Learn More

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Research and Statistics

  • Journal Articles: This webpage provides information on references and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine).
  • OCD Clinical Trials: This webpage lists clinical trials on OCD at the National Institutes of Health and across the country.
  • OCD Statistics: Adults: This webpage lists information on trends in prevalence of and use of treatments/services by adults with OCD.

Last Revised: January 2016

Unless otherwise specified, NIMH information and publications are in the public domain and available for use free of charge. Citation of the NIMH is appreciated. Please see our Citing NIMH Information and Publications page for more information.