Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in Children and Teens

Helping children release the burden of intrusive thoughts

Our approach to OCD care for children and teens

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can make your child feel like they’re all alone and that no one understands what they’re going through. The truth is, your child isn't alone. We understand how difficult OCD can be for children and teenagers, and we’re here to help.

Our mental health experts will work closely with you and your child to develop a personalized treatment plan. Once it's clear how to manage their symptoms, they can live a happy, fulfilling life.

Signs and symptoms of OCD

Common symptoms of OCD include:

  • unwanted, intrusive thoughts that cause anxiety or distress
  • repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person feels the need to do in order to reduce anxiety
  • excessive fear of germs or contamination
  • need for symmetry or order
  • checking things repeatedly
  • ritualistic behaviors

When to seek care for OCD

If your child or loved one has any of the above symptoms, it's important to seek professional help. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in managing OCD and improving quality of life. Talk to your doctor or mental health professional to learn more about OCD and available treatment options.

Diagnosis of OCD

Here’s how the diagnosis process usually works:

  • Talk to a healthcare provider: Start by talking to one of our child's doctor or mental health professional. We can assess your child's symptoms and determine if further evaluation is needed.
  • Comprehensive assessment: If necessary, your child will undergo a comprehensive assessment by a mental health professional. This may include interviews, observations and standardized tools to assess the severity of symptoms.
  • Consider the impact on daily life: The assessment will also consider how your child's symptoms are affecting their daily life, including their ability to go to school, participate in activities and interact with others.

Treatments for OCD

We'll work closely with you and your child to develop a treatment plan that addresses their specific concerns and goals, including:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps your child change negative thoughts into more positive, effective ways of thinking. It also involves gradually exposing your child to their fears in a safe setting. They learn that bad things don't happen when they don't do their compulsive behaviors.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be helpful in managing your child's OCD symptoms. We may prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to help reduce anxiety and compulsive behaviors.
  • Family Involvement: We believe that involving the family in treatment is crucial for success. We'll work with you to educate you about OCD and provide you with the tools you need to support your child's treatment at home.
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Family-centered treatment

Our team is committed to including and supporting families throughout treatment. With families integral to success, we work closely with them throughout the care journey.

Comprehensive treatment options

We offer a wide range of evidence-based treatment options, including cognitive behavioral therapy, medication and support groups.

Collaboration and referrals

We work closely with other health-care professionals, such as pediatricians, primary care physicians and schools, to ensure that your child receives the comprehensive care they need. We also provide referrals to other specialists, such as speech therapists and occupational therapists, as needed.

Convenient care locations

We offer services in a variety of locations, including our outpatient clinics, schools and your home. We know that making it easy for families to access care is essential to successful treatment.