Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder, in which children generally have obsessions and compulsions. These obsessions in children are usually repetitive behaviors such as washing hands, ordering things, making sure of things; or mental actions: counting, repeating words or praying.
Most children with obsessive compulsive disorder tend to improve with psychological treatment that combines cognitive behavioral counseling therapy with drug treatment. We explain what it consists of.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy aims to help the child with OCD to develop a set of strategies that are useful to them to overcome their emotional and behavioral problems. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, cognitive, emotional and behavioral techniques are used to generate profound changes at these three levels:
- Cognitive level: refers to thoughts, beliefs and mental schemes.
- Emotional level: refers to emotions. If the child learns to think properly about his problem, this will lead to a decrease and / or disappearance of disturbing emotions (for example, anxiety).
- Behavioral level: refers to behaviors. If we lower the child's anxiety level, the probability that he behaves maladaptively decreases.
The main goal of treatment is to make the child feel good without the need to engage in neutralization, avoidance, or escape behaviors. To achieve this, it is necessary, for example, that you touch those objects or people that you consider 'dirty' without problems and naturally. Thus, it can be said that the ultimate goal is to eliminate the discomfort that the child feels.
In the psychological treatment of childhood OCD, parents are also incorporated into therapeutic work, who receive psychological support, as well as specific guidelines to act as collaborators.
It is important that parents who suspect the presence of obsessive-compulsive disorder in their child consult a professional for an evaluation and, if the diagnosis is confirmed, carry out the appropriate treatment. A timely diagnosis and treatment prevents obsessions and compulsions from becoming more complex and dysfunctional.
The age of onset in childhood is very varied, although it is not well known if this is because this happens in reality or because it is difficult to detect at a very early age. However, it has been diagnosed in children of six years and even less, although the usual seems to be that it appears for the first time around the age of ten.
Alicia López de Fez
Founder and Director of the López de Fez Psychology Center, in Valencia.
Center website: http://www.centropsicologiainfantil.es
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