Teen Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Teen obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) consists of two parts: the ‘obsession’ and the ‘compulsion’. Obsessions are senseless, irrational or inappropriately persistent, intrusive and unwanted thoughts, images, or instincts that may cause a high degree of anxiety.

Compulsions are repetitive behavior patterns that a person performs to decrease the effect of anxiety caused by the obsessions. Some common compulsions include: counting, touching, washing, and checking. These vary in intensity from person to person and may interfere with a person’s ability to live a productive life, causing further stress for the individual and those around him/her.

The causes of teen OCD are still not certain, although scientists believe that genetics play a big role. In addition, an imbalance of certain chemicals, such as serotonin, can also cause uncontrolled thoughts, fears, and unexplained doubts.

Symptoms of Teen OCD

The symptoms of teen OCD disorder include:

  • Unwanted thoughts
  • Fastidious about cleanliness
  • Methodical hand-washing
  • Obsessive checking of doors, lights, locks etc.
  • Attempts to perfect everything
  • Excessive daydreaming
  • Late to school and to appointments
  • Repetitive patterns of behavior
  • Profusely apologizing
  • Anxious with intimacy

Treatments for Teen OCD

There are many options for the treatment of teen OCD. Most often OCD is treated using a regimen of medications, or by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or by a combination of medication and CBT. It may take three to four months before an improvement is clearly visible. Determination of the best course of treatment for each person is decided by a professionally qualified mental health professional who is fully trained in diagnosis and treatment of OCD.

Medication: SSRIs (Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors, such as Fluoxetine) are commonly prescribed to treat OCD.

Psychological Treatments: Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” helps a person to control his/her thought patterns and emotions. The most effective psychotherapy for treating OCD in teenagers is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps teens overcome their obsessions and compulsions by gradually changing the way they think. It has many components, including cognitive restructuring, exposure, and response prevention. Sometimes this therapy is provided in through group sessions.

School Support: Schools may play an important role in helping teens change behavioral and thought patterns, and adapt new ways of operating. This helps the teen cope with and manage the symptoms of OCD in a healthier way.

Community support: Community supports may include peer support groups for teenagers, support groups for families, and other helpful resources.

Arousal Decreasing Techniques: There are many effective techniques for decreasing physical arousal, such as – anxious feelings, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing etc. Some of these include biofeedback, mindfulness, deep muscle relaxation, meditation, etc.

Regular Routine: A regular daily routine is very important for a person with OCD. It is highly important to have a routine and follow it strictly in order to maintain a balanced and productive life.

Treatments at Hillcrest

Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center (Hillcrest) is a licensed, residential mental health facility, specializing in the treatment of teen OCD. Hillcrest aims to help clients become centered and empowered to address their struggles head on and to find the most wholesome path for long-lasting healing, and enable them to maximize their quality of life.

In line with the treatment philosophy and facility mission, Hillcrest provides a range of innovative and creative therapeutic, experiential, and clinical evidence-based treatment options in a natural and peaceful environment, to benefit both mind and body health. Simultaneously, clients are provided with an educational school component, as well as healthy recreational activities, including; library, art, music, and a range of outdoor exercise programs, including tennis and swimming. All healing is guided by dedicated doctoral level medical healthcare professionals and therapists with stellar background and experience. At Hillcrest the road to recovery is real and supported every step of the way for you and your loved one.

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