Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)


Children and adolescents with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) experience recurring ideas or thoughts (obsessions) which trigger repetitive behavioural or mental rituals (compulsions).  The most common obsessions are:

– Repeated thoughts about contamination or illness
– Aggressive or self-harm impulses
– Self-doubt (e.g. self-doubt doubt over remembering to lock the back door)
– Sexual thoughts or imagery
– An overpowering desire to have things in a specific order
– An intense need to hold onto items or to hoard unneeded objects

The anxiety and distress caused by obsessions leads children and adolescents with OCD to perform behavioural (e.g. checking, hand washing, ordering, hoarding) or mental rituals (e.g. counting, praying, having to repeat certain words over and over again).  For example a child with OCD who worries about contamination may feel compelled to wash their hands multiple times throughout the day or for longer than others usually would.