Friday, May 7, 2010

Children with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

As a child, you lack the vocabulary to express fully what is going on inside. And when something as complex as OCD is kicking around in your brain, it’s even harder to tell your parents just how much you’re suffering. Not just that, but if you’re fortunate enough to get diagnosed, you’re too young to understand what that means. All you know is you’re forgiven for the thoughts and behaviours that used to upset people around you.

I don’t believe in indulging children’s anxieties, OCD or not, but obsessions do carry an extra weight to them that means it’s not good to be too strict with them. I think this could upset the child even more. I really don’t agree with medication, particularly at young ages, because it can permanently alter the brain chemistry as the child grows. But there are therapies out there, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, even for young kids, and I do think helping your child learn the skills to overcome each obsession as it comes, as early in life as possible, is a powerful thing. Equally, read every book you can on the subject so that if anyone makes a comment, you’ve always got the answers; and educate your child as best you can, to meet their age level, so that they can stand up for themselves if bullied.

Make sure they know they’re not bad for the thoughts they have, and that while OCD can be crippling at times, if you work very hard and get proper therapy, it is possible to tap into the more analytical thoughtful side of OCD and apply it in personal activities. Conditions like OCD also frequently come with high intelligence and / or creative ability, so tap into your child’s special talents and make sure they know that the obsessions really aren’t all they are.

Vrinda Pendred
Editor and Founder of Conditional Publications

Join Vrinda in celebrating the release of her book Check Mates—the first and ONLY original collection of fiction and poetry written about obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) by the people who know best—those who have obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Split between realism and stories of the beyond, there is a diverse range of styles and genres, and a mix of rage, frustration, tears, violence, pain, heartache, subversion, love, strength, metaphysics, philosophy, friendship, hope, and even a bit of humour. And maybe, just maybe, it will knock away a few stereotypes.

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