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How Do You Deal With Severe OCD Children?

written by: Superbwriter • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 1/27/2011

In this article, severe OCD in children is briefly explained followed by valuable tips on how to deal with severe OCD children.

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    What is Severe OCD In Children?

    Parents with children who have been diagnosed with severe OCD are suddenly faced with the question "how do you deal with severe OCD children?" In order to understand how to deal with severe OCD children, let us first gain some insight into what the disorder actually entails.

    Almost every child has some small elements of doubt and worries about minor issues, but when a child continuously experiences thoughts of anxiety, sadness and, in severe instances shows paranoia about these worries, then the child could be suffering from severe OCD.

    Severe OCD children have the tendency to worry about certain thoughts and images and they experience paranoid fears which they start to obsess about. They may also entertain alarming feelings of harming others, although they won't actually do so and definitely do not want to harm anyone.

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    How Do You Deal With Severe OCD Children?

    Early and professional diagnosis is important in dealing with severe OCD children. The use of appropriate treatment options like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) go a long way toward making meaningful progress. Drug therapy using medications such as clomipramine, sertraline, and paroxetine or the use of natural herbs or home remedies help in alleviating symptoms. In addition to all these treatment options, severe OCD children need a lot of support and emotional help from their parents, family and caretakers.

    This brings us back to the question “how do you deal with severe OCD children." Some simple yet very beneficial tips on how best to deal with severe OCD children include:

    1) Children turn to guardians or parents for support so whenever your child starts any discussion about their problem, the first tip is to simply be understanding and listen attentively since communication is vital in dealing with OCD issues.

    2) Do not attempt to hurry along treatments, therapy or progress as this might exert additional stress on your already stressed child or teenager.

    3) The progress of all children is not the same so don’t equate your child’s progress with that of other severe OCD children.

    4) The immediate family must educate itself about OCD. This will help you to be prepared for what lies ahead as well as equipping you to better explain OCD to your child.

    5) The entire family has to be supportive and should take part in therapy and support group sessions.

    6) Do not ever ignore your child’s concerns as these children often try to hide their problems.

    7) Set up some sort of “appreciation or reward system" for even small achievements since progress is usually very slow and tough, and a pat on the back can help to keep severe OCD children motivated.

    8) Do explain to your child that he or she is not responsible for their OCD behavior; rather it is the illness which causes them to behave the way they do. It is important that the child understands this.

    9) Do not ever punish a severe OCD child for their actions since they have no control over them. Support, encouragement and talking are more helpful than punishment.

    10) Try as far as possible to provide a normal and regular family life-style with suitable attention to diet and rest for your severe OCD child. It is a bad idea to excessively change home life to accommodate the child’s obsessions and compulsions.

    11) Get in touch with a local support group as other parents often provide helpful tips and solutions to questions such as 'how do you deal with severe OCD children?'

    12) It is also a good idea to find a support group for yourself and to seek the help of extended family and friends. This helps to alleviate some of the stress and pressure which you undergo when you have to deal continuously with a severe OCD child.

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    References:

    1) March J & Wells K. (2003), Combining medication and psychotherapy. In: Paediatric Psychopharmacology: Principles and Practice, Martin A, Scahill L, Charney DS, Leckman JF, eds. London: Oxford University Press, pp 426–446.

    2) March, JS. (1995), Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for children and adolescents with OCD: a review and recommendations for treatment. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 34:7–18

    3) Ron Huxley. (2000). A Parents' Guide to Childhood Mental Health Disorders. Available from: http://www.selfhelpmagazine.com/article/childhood-mental-health

    4) Merlo LJ, Storch EA, Murphy TK, Goodman WK, Geffken GR. (2005). Assessment of pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder: A critical review of current methodology. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 36:195–214. doi: 10.1007/s10578-005-4079-7. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

    5) Piacentini, J., & Bergman, R. L. (2001). Obsessive-compulsive disorder in children. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 23, 519–533.