Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Age of Onset
The median is 19, but many kids show symptoms much earlier.

When It's Nothing
OCD-type behaviors before age 8 are often no cause for concern, since rituals are a normal part of growing up. Even when kids are older, don't confuse tidiness with obsessiveness or common hand-washing with compulsiveness.

When To Seek Help
The key is when rituals and anxieties start to interfere with a child's happiness or ability to engage in activities.

Exposure and response prevention help kids tolerate uncertainty. Drugs are an option but should not be a first resort.