Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Treatment & Care
Specific treatment for OCD will be determined by your child's physician based on:
- your child's age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of your child's symptoms
- your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the condition
- your opinion or preference
OCD can be effectively treated — usually with a combination of individual therapy and medications. Treatment should always be based on a comprehensive evaluation of the child and family.
Individual therapy usually includes both cognitive and behavioral techniques. Cognitive therapy focuses on helping the child or adolescent identify and understand their fears and learn new ways to resolve or reduce their fears more effectively. Behavior techniques help the child or adolescent and their family establish contracts or guidelines to limit or change behaviors (such as establishing a maximum number of times a compulsive handwasher may wash his/her hands.)
Medications used most often to treat OCD are classified as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), medications that selectively affect neurotransmitters mechanisms in the central nervous system. If OCD is found to be linked to a streptococcal infection, then a series of antibiotic medications may be prescribed by your child's physician. Treatment recommendations may include family therapy and consultation with the child's school. Parents play a vital supportive role in any treatment process.
Approximately 20 to 40 percent of adolescents with OCD also experience one or more types of eating disorders, which will also require treatment.
Helping your child with medical experiences
If it has been recommended or you have decided that your child is in need of a significant medical procedure or hospitalization, this Guide is for you. It was created with the help of parents and professionals to help prepare you for what will happen during your child’s hospitalization, and to give you information about specific ways to help you and your child cope with medical procedures and with the hospital stay.