When Fear Rules !

Children with OCD

by on Aug.16, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD

I have very strong and yet mixed emotions when I see a new client suffering with obsessive-compulsive symptoms, but never more than when the client is a child.

Can you imagine what a child feels when he or she finds herself {or himself} compelled to carry out some ritual like repeated hand-washing.

Even at a young age, they fear ridicule. They often feel they are crazy, or that something is really wrong with them. Children have enough issues of acceptance or rejection to deal with, but can you imagine what this must be like for them.

And since many parents do not understand what the child is going through, they become upset and frustrated with the child, often telling the child to just stop. Feeling a parent is angry with you for something you feel no control of is especially stressful and usually exacerbates the symptoms.

If you have or know a child experiencing obsessive-compulsive symptoms, back off, talk to him, don’t show anger or frustration. Instead, LISTEN, and look for what might be creating the symptoms. Look for conflicts and overwhelming emotions that might be causing the child to feel out of control, like significant conflict with peers, or trying to fit in by mimicking behaviors that the child knows are wrong. Conflict and anger will create the atmosphere for both panic attacks and OCD.

Coach

Gene Benedetto, Clinical Psychologist

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