25% of kids with OCD have a family member with OCD
Stress, illness, and parenting are shown to have no effect on whether a child will have OCD.
Signs and symptoms:
Common compulsions (obsessions/activities that are necessary to the child's life are commonly associated with OCD)
Many people with OCD experience paranoia. the constant need for checking occurs because the individual feels unsafe. For example, people with a checking compulsion associated with OCD will constantly check their doors at night to make sure they are locked.
The individual feels vulnerable and exposed to danger (paranoia- a large part of OCD) and will attempt to relieve this by constantly cleaning themselves or their environment.
Many people will hoard stuff due to the constant worry that they will need it at one point, and the excessive amount of stuff brings comfort to the person due to the feeling of being "prepared."
Symmetry and order
Many people associate this one compulsion with OCD (the need for order and neatness) but typically people with OCD experience other compulsions as well. in addition, OCD causes the need for repetitive actions and a significant amount of paranoia.
WHY do these compulsions occur?
Many children and teens will experience unwanted thoughts, many times regarding sexual orientation and romantic feelings, causing a "fight" in the individuals head to rid of these specific thoughts
Especially at a young age, many kids feel paranoid about different situations and worry about different situations that could put them or their loved ones at harm. Common paranoid thoughts can be that your family will never come home, that the house could catch on fire, or that someone could break into the house. These compulsions help these individuals feel calmer and less paranoid. The common compulsion of order is common because many individuals feel that if everything is in order that there is a less chance that something bad (or the idea that they are paranoid about) will occur. Again, OCD compulsions range and depend on the person, this is just a general compulsion of OCD.
Can cause strain on daily life and activities.
Interferes with social relationships constantly.
Can not sit think clearly due to the constant worry or paranoia.
Certain medications are designed to lower/decline compulsions associated with OCD
ERP (exposure and response prevention)
This form of therapy is done by presenting the child with an object/situation that triggers a compulsion, and then with aid of a therapist, they work to prevent the compulsion actions from occurring.
Having open informational talks with other OCD patients is shown to be very effective. the individual feels more comfortable with others similarly diagnosed, and this can be effective for many patients as one possible solution.
How Can a Parent Help Their Kid with OCD?
Patience is the key to helping your child with OCD. They can not control their compulsions, and it is not their fault.
Helping create an environment where they fee less anxious is helpful in reducing compulsion frequency.
Sources: NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health)
Psychological Care and Healing Treatment Center Infographic