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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Read this page if your child worries a lot about things that could happen, or if she needs to do some things over and over.
Learn what you can do to help your child.


What is obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (ob-SEH-siv cum-PUL-siv) is a medical problem that affects behavior. There are 2 parts to this problem:

  • Getting "stuck" on the same thoughts. This is called obsession (ob-SEH-shun). For some children, these are thoughts that make them worried or upset, like something bad happening. Many children get stuck on a topic that can be fun, like baseball scores, or the way that elevators work. Either way, they can't stop having these thoughts, even though having the same thought over and over again can lead to other problems or make them sad or scared. The obsessions are harder to see because they are thoughts. So you will probably only know about the obsessions if the person talks about them.
  • Needing to do the same things over and over again, like checking that the door is locked. This is called compulsions (cum-PUL-shuns). The things that some kids need to do might seem weird. They might not make sense. Most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder know that their compulsions don't make sense. But they can't stop doing them. They can't stop because the compulsions make them feel better for a short time. But the compulsions are actions that you can see. Most parents realize quickly that their child NEEDS to do this behavior, over and over again. It is hard to pull your child away from the thing he is doing, even if it hurts (like pulling out her hair).

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can come with other problems
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can come with other problems, like:

Anyone can get obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • Both boys and girls can have OCD.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder can start at any age. Young and old people can get it. But it usually starts when the person is a child or a teenager.

People with OCD can get help for it. But for many deaf children, the obsessions or compulsions are part of a bigger problem, like autism or an infection that happened during pregnancy.

Next: Signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder

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