Obsessive compulsive disorder is not only an issue for adults. Some children also suffer from OCD. This consists of having unwanted thoughts and then doing certain behaviors to do something about the thoughts. This can interfere with relationships and daily activities. Parents may think that their children’s OCD symptoms will go away with time, but this is not the case. Childhood OCD usually turns into adulthood OCD, which can haunt someone for life. Catching OCD early on is imperative, as the longer it goes untreated, the harder it is to manage. When looking for treatment options, there are natural ways to treat OCD.
Symptoms of OCD
A child who has OCD has symptoms related to obsessions, compulsions, or both. Obsessive symptoms may include:
- Obsession with germs or dirt
- Spending long periods of time thinking about number sequences
- Repeated doubts
- Preoccupation with perfection or order
- Obsessively worrying that something bad will happen
- Aggressive behaviors
To help ease the anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts, children often partake in compulsive behaviors:
- Frequent handwashing
- Counting and recounting repeatedly
- Following strict rules of order
- Repeating words
- Checking and rechecking things frequently
- Grouping objects
For an OCD diagnosis, the child’s thoughts and behaviors must be continuous and disruptive to daily life. If a doctor diagnoses OCD, there are a variety of treatment options.
Treatment for OCD
Depending on the child’s age, overall health, and the severity of symptoms, the healthcare provider may recommend a treatment plan consisting of a variety of things. For older kids, often a combination of medication and therapy is recommended. For younger kids, therapy is often preferred over medication, as they produce more side effects in young ones and the consequences of long-term use is unknown.
Therapy often uses behavioral and cognitive methods. Behavioral therapy works on showing the child in a safe environment that not doing a certain behavior does not make bad things happen. It may include setting up rules or agreements to limit or change unwanted behaviors. Cognitive therapy works on helping the child identify and understand the fears. It presents new ways to deal with the fears to reduce or resolve them.
Because parents play a large role in home life, they are usually involved with the child’s therapy or go through therapy individually. They learn how to support and reinforce what the child is working on with the therapist.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may be prescribed to help manage a child’s symptoms. However, as with other drugs, SSRIs come with unwanted side effects. The good news is that there are homeopathic OCD meds for children. These provide benefits and reduce symptoms without the side effects found with prescription and over the counter drugs.
Research Effective Treatments for OCD
The best thing parents can do if they suspect their child has OCD is to seek professional treatment right away. Based on the situation, they may have a variety of treatment options from which to choose. Whether they are looking for anxiety strategies for high school students or homeopathic medication, parents should conduct thorough research to ensure the child is getting the most effective treatment without harming their health.