Although Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is becoming more and more known at a general level and is more normalized, We still have a long way to go.

Especially in the case of children, it is a disorder that is sometimes difficult to detect. However, to give us an idea, it is estimated that approximately 1% of the Spanish population suffers from OCD, being the fourth most common psychiatric disorder in the population.

What is OCD?

Before starting to list the differences between adult and child patients, it is important to define exactly what OCD is.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by alterations in thinking and behavior in the form of obsessions and compulsions . Historically, it is related to compulsive behaviors such as repeated hand washing or obsession with order and symmetry. But it’s not only that.

In short, a person with OCD is lost in a scheme of unpleasant thoughts or in a series of repetitive and ritual behaviors that they are not able to control, and that at the same time At the same time, it causes anxiety and anguish and causes a lot of suffering.

Eye! The fact that we have some mania does not mean that we suffer from OCD. If these manias become frequent, interfere with our daily life, or cause discomfort, that is when we should go to our doctor to study the >possibility of a disorder.

What is the difference between an obsession and a compulsion?

An obsession is an irrational thought that makes no sense, is unpleasant and unwanted, and is usually related to situations that we perceive as dangerous or that make us scared. A compulsion, on the other hand, is a ritualized behavior that is used to compensate for the anxiety produced by obsessive thinking.

What causes it?

In reality, all anxiety disorders have a relevant genetic component, but the environment and education also influence > received, especially in families that are very demanding, perfectionist, or with a lot of superstition.

At the brain level, the cause of OCD is a poor regulation in neurotransmitters (the substances that transport information in our brain).

OCD in childhood

In the case of children, OCD becomes especially difficult to recognize, since children usually hide or normalize this type of behavior. In the end, they do not understand what is happening, and therefore, they feel different and may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

The key point to recognize childhood OCD is how you take the task to be carried out: do you notice that it is an obligation, or that you do it? take with joy? If your answer is the second, it is likely that these are mere childish manias that you don’t have to worry about. On the other hand, if it is the first, it is dangerous and we should consult with a professional.

If you notice that the boy or girl has behavior of this type, which also causes discomfort or anxiety, you should go to the pediatrician.

Types of obsessions and compulsions

Among the types of behaviors that children usually present are:

  • Order and symmetry: is seen, above all, in the case of toys.
  • Germs and disease transmission: this is where compulsive handwashing comes in, for example.
  • Checking and reassurance: They tend to check the things they do over and over again.
  • Magical thinking: specifically, it is usually of a superstitious type. For example, “If I don’t see a yellow car today, something bad will happen to me.”
  • Irrational fear of saying somethinginappropriate or harming others in some way.
  • Death: they think about the possibility that somefamily member or they themselves may die.
  • Sex: they think about the biological differences that exist between genders, but at the same time they believe that these ideas are bad and that they should not think about it.
  • Accumulation of material things.
  • Constant repetition: They usually feel that they have to do things a specific number of times, or in a specific way.

Differences between OCD and mania

There are two significant differences between a mania and a compulsion:

  • First, the time spent on the behavior is significantly different. A mania happens infrequently, but a compulsion is dedicated to a considerable amount of time major.
  • In the case of not being able to carry out that act that we call mania, the boy or girl feels discomfort. If this occurs, it is clearly a compulsion.

How is it treated?

To treat OCD in childhood cases, medication is prescribed combined with psychotherapy.

If you suspect that your child has OCD, it is not recommended that you blame or punish him or her when performing the behavior. compulsive, since in itself, the child will look distressed, frustrated and limited. It is much better to be patient and try to foster a calm and stress-free environment around you.

In addition, we also say goodbye with good news: childhood OCD completely disappears in 50% of cases, with adequate treatment and family commitment.

If you think that your child may suffer from OCD, contact us without any type of commitment.


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