Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry

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OCD in Children: Causes and Treatments

Up to this day, experts still don’t have a complete understanding of what really causes the development of OCD. It is understandable for parents to be curious of what elements might have caused their child to suffer from OCD.

Related studies suggest that biological, behavioral and environmental factors have involvement in this.

What biological factors can develop OCD?

Research shows that the insufficient levels of serotonin, a type of neurotransmitter is linked with the development of OCD in children. This shows that OCD can likely be genetic. Parents can pass serotonin insufficiency to their children.

Let’s name a few environmental factors or stressors that can trigger OCD.

Certain situations in a child’s environment can trigger OCD. It is important to be aware of these environmental factors to avoid the symptoms to appear or worsen. Here are some of the instances that causes OCD:

  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Death of a love one
  • School-related issues
  • Changes in their environment
  • Traumatic brain injury or traumatic events

There are also behavioral causes associated with OCD. OCD patients link certain situations or objects with fear. They appease that fear by performing compulsions. These fear and compulsive behavior cycle can occur during stressful events.

Doctors diagnose children of OCD from comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, provided that they ruled out physical diseases that may cause OCD symptoms. Some physical diseases may cause OCD symptoms such as compulsive skin picking and hair pulling.

Compulsive skin pulling can root from other illnesses such as liver disease, skin conditions and anemia. Compulsive hair pulling on the other hand may come from psoriasis and other scalp diseases.

What are the treatments for children with OCD?

Before identifying the individual treatment for OCD in children, the doctors will have to perform physical assessments such as:

  • General Physical exam
  • Level of Severity of Symptoms
  • Checking for the presence of other diseases
  • Levels of tolerance to certain medications and therapy strategies

If diagnosed early, OCD in children can be effectively treated. Professionals will have to test for the right set of therapy and medication. They may use a cognitive behavioral therapy. For the medications, they may suggest selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors to balance the levels of serotonins in patients. At the end of the day, the family of the child suffering from OCD play the most critical part in his treatment and recovery.

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