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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 of OCD involves exposure with response prevention therapy, cognitive therapy, and pharmacotherapy, especially when the symptoms are more severe. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a technique wherein your child obsessions in incremental steps in a safe and motivating environment. They will be taught how to face their fears without resorting to compulsions. By encountering the obsessive thoughts in this manner, the child will learn to tolerate their distress, and discover that it will lead to overall reduction is symptoms over time. The Anxiety Center specializes in offering intensive rapid treatment of OCD by meeting daily in the places where OCD disrupts your child's life. Staff will train your child to gradually face the situations and thoughts that provoke their OCD while learning how not to respond with rituals, compulsions, reassurance seeking or avoidance. We will accompany them into the situations that OCD makes difficult and help them learn how to get used to it without giving in to the OCD. If OCD hinders much of your child's daily life, then we will intensify the treatment to to match their level of need. Research shows that this will promote the best chance at overcoming OCD.

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