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OCD Signs & Symptoms

What is OCD?

Obsessions are unwelcome ideas, images, or impulses that create distress. Compulsions are employed to relieve distress. Sadly, compulsions fail and the thought, picture, or impulse returns. Because the compulsion succeeded the first time, the brain learns to rely on it. When it no longer relieves the mind, the compulsion grows heavier or more complex. OCD can disrupt one's entire day. It is one of the top 20 causes of disability globally.

OCD Obsessions
People who suffer from OCD experience recurrent and severe anxieties or urges that they are unable to control. These obsessive thoughts are extremely stressful and cause severe anxiety.
OCD Compulsions
To control obsessions and anxiety, people with OCD turn to certain behaviors, rituals or routines. They do so repeatedly. Compulsions only help temporarily, though.

Behavioral Symptoms in Children

Difficulty at bedtime.
Using statements such as, "Something bad could happen if ..."
Frequent washing hands, showering, or checking (behind doors, locks, windows)
Telling a parent they did something wrong - and it seems innocuous to you.
Child is unwilling to complete a chore or task until you give in to their reassurance seeking
Asking repeatedly about germs, getting sick, or dying. For example: "Can you promise that I won't get sick" or, "Can you make sure ...."
Frequent staring off into space, up at the ceiling, breathing in a patterned manner.
Not wanting to go to extra circular activities, school, or play with friends
Taking a long time to complete school work (at school and at home)
Not engaging in the activities, hobbies or leisure activities they previously enjoyed.
Rage and aggression.
Frequent reassurance seeking: "Are you sure this is safe to eat? Are you sure I'm not sick? Am I going to wake up in the morning?"

Emotional Symptoms in Children

Embarrassing or scary thoughts they know are not true but are nonetheless scary or embarrassing
Cry more frequently
Express a desire to be close to a parent
Increased sadness, anger or explosive behaviour
Depressed mood
Throwing tantrums when something they were doing is interrupted or when you do not comply with their request "they don't get their way"
Family tension or arguments
Emotional distress, depression and/or anxiety in parents (e.g. walking on eggshells)
Changing daily routines to minimize anxiety
Assisting with or participating in compulsions
Adhering to rigid rules to avoid anxiety or disruptive behaviour
Feelings of fear ("I don't know how to help or what this is")
Taking time off work to spend with your loved one
Feelings of guilt, sadness, frustration, and anger
Giving in to the child's frequent demands
Providing reassurance (telling the loved one that there are no grounds for the fear)
Facilitating avoidance (e.g. touching something so that the loved one doesn't have to)
Not understanding what's happening

What are the Signs of OCD in Adults?

Recurring and distressing thoughts, images, or urges Despite best efforts to rid one's self of these thoughts they do not go away. Adults will try to neutralize these thoughts through mental or behavioural acts that make the distress go away. The problem with compulsions is that they do not work very well or for very long before the distress returns.