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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the more common mental disorders in youth. It is characterized by obsessions which are intrusive thoughts, impulses, or images that cause anxiety. A child may then engage in behaviors used to reduce or prevent the feared outcome called compulsions. They may have varying levels of insight, however they usually recognize that obsessions are irrational but still feel compelled to neutralize them anyways. The severity of the disorder is determined by assessing the level of time, distress, and functional impairment that are incurring from the obsessions and compulsions. OCD can be devastating if left untreated and tends to progress over time. A child may often become aware of the disorder as they continually engage in repetitive or ritualistic behaviors. Many times a child can inadvertently take part in the rituals through the provision of various forms of reassurance and through accommodations of the compulsive behaviors.

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Effective treatment for OCD typically involves a combination of exposure with response prevention therapy, cognitive therapy, and pharmacotherapy, particularly for severe symptoms. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) involves gradually exposing your child to their obsessions in a safe environment and teaching them to face their fears without resorting to compulsions. Through this process, they learn to tolerate distress, leading to a reduction in symptoms over time. At The Anxiety Center, we specialize in intensive, rapid treatment of OCD, meeting daily in settings where OCD disrupts your child's life. Our staff will support your child in gradually confronting OCD triggers while learning to resist rituals, reassurance-seeking, and avoidance behaviors. We accompany them through challenging situations, helping them adapt without giving in to OCD. If OCD significantly impacts your child's daily life, we adjust treatment intensity accordingly, offering the best chance of overcoming OCD, supported by research.

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