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OCD in children is when kids become way too preoccupied with whether something could become a source of harm to others, dangerous, dirty or wrong. The child could have thoughts that something bad might happen. He or she may constantly worry about things being out of order and may worry about losing items that are not useful, feeling the urge to keep these items.

It is estimated that about one percent of children in the United States experience OCD, which is often characterised by certain pattern of rituals that they hide from their family members because they are embarrassed by them.

OCD in children is normally diagnosed between the ages of 7 and 12 because this is the stage when children feel concerned about fitting in with their friends. Parents must understand that Obsessive-compulsive behavior is not a light switch that can be switched off and on by your child - your child has no control over OCD and it is no fault of yours nor is it the fault of your child. 

Common OCD Behaviors in Children

OCD can really be a pain in the neck for kids who have this disorder and their families because obsessive-compulsive behaviors often take up a lot of energy and time  in order to complete a task that should normally take a couple of minutes e.g. chores, homework or to simply have fun.

Common obsessions among children with OCD include:
    Fear of contamination
    Fear of dirt or germs
    Obsessed with religion
    Always arranging his or her stuff in precision
    Thoughts that are sexual or aggressive in nature
    lucky and unlucky numbers
    fear of illness
    fear of harm coming to him/her or family members

OCD in children include common compulsions such as:

    Hoarding and collecting things
    Grooming rituals – hand washing, over zealous brushing of the teeth, and showering
    Touching rituals
    Ordering and arranging objects in a particular order
    Repeatedly checking homework
    Repeating rituals
    Cleaning rituals
    Always checking to make sure appliances are properly switched off.

Parents can detect OCD in children by looking for the following tell tale signs:

    An unusually high rate of soap, detergent or toilet paper usage
    A sudden drop in quiz/test grades
    Hands that are raw and chapped due to constant washing
    Wasting hours doing homework (perfectionist tendencies)
    A constant fear of falling ill
    High unexplained utility bill expenses
    An increase in laundry
    Constantly checking on the health of family members
    Spending an outrageous amount of time preparing for bed!
    Reluctance to leave home with other members of the family at the same time
    Constantly afraid that something awful will happen to someone
    Requests for members of the family to keep answering the same question
OCD in children can be treated using medication and behavioural therapy which is also known as cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy (CBT). CBT helps children with OCD learn to change their thoughts and feelings by changing their behavior first.