Eric was a meticulous kid. Very clean, very polite, very conscientious, he always got straight A’s and always kept his room clean. But Eric told me he was “stuck. I’m stuck in all of the things I have to do every day to keep things perfect and I can’t stop. I just want to be a normal kid, who makes last minute decisions and can go a whole day without washing my hands more than once. I think my friends actually do that.”
Eric told me since his parents’ divorce last year, his fear of imperfection and his need to control “everything in my environment” got much worse. “I mean, I get why, I’ve studied some psychology, but I have no idea how to make it stop.” Eric was suffering with both obsessive thoughts that something terrible would happen if he made a mistake and compulsive behaviors that he engaged in all day long, in an attempt to quiet his obsessive fears. He was suffering from Obsessive Compulsive disorder.
Eric was more than willing to start using some of the cognitive behavioral techniques he was learning in therapy. He responded very well to a medication that helps with OCD symptoms and in a few months, proudly reported that he had waited until the very last minute to study for his recent calculus exam so he could go out with friends to get a burger. I’ve never seen someone so proud of getting a B instead of an A on an exam!
Facts About OCD in Adolescents
Current estimates suggest that one in 100 children has OCD.
It is believed that lower serotonin levels in the brain can cause OCD to appear or become worse.
OCD is not curable but it is controllable.
Medication therapy and behavioral therapy are the most common treatments for OCD and are most effective when used together.
Close to 80% of children with OCD improve significantly with proper drug and behavioral treatment.
What WellPsyche Patients Are Saying
“I’m really into basketball and I’m pretty good. I really enjoy it but I get kind of obsessed with certain things, like I have to shoot the ball exactly 25 times every practice. If I shoot less, I have to go back and finish. If I shoot more, I have to start over again. Taking medication has helped me not do this as much and feel less anxious about having to practice exactly right. My therapist has taught me some tricks I can do when I start feeling like I need to count my baskets. They usually help a lot.”
Brayden, age 17
“I kept missing first period because I was late to school. I was late because I felt this overwhelming need to check every lock, every electrical outlet and every light switch in our house, not once, but 4 times each, before leaving from school. Finally my mom said she’d had enough and I started going to see a doctor. He helped me understand that I had a condition called OCD and gave me medicine to help. It helped a lot more than I thought it would actually. I’ve also been doing therapy to help learn ways I can stop my obsessions and compulsions if they come back. I think my life is better now for sure.
Shanie, age 15
Did You Know?
MANY famous and highly successful people have been diagnosed with PTSD including Ariana Grande, Singer and Songwriter, Whoopie Goldberg, Actress, Mick Jagger, Performer, Musician, Audie Murphy, Actor and War Veteran, Darrell Hammond, Actor and comedian, just to name a few.