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19 S. Cameron Street, Winchester VA

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition that causes children/teens to have unwanted thoughts, feelings, and fears to the point that they impact their daily lives, things that prevent them from the leaving the house, or always late. Adults with OCD can make allowances in their schedules as they need to, children/teens cannot always do that as they have to go along with their parents’ timetable. These are called obsessions, and they can make kids feel anxious. To relieve the obsessions and anxiety, OCD leads kids to do behaviors called compulsions (also called rituals). OCD presents different in children and teens that it does with adults.



Obsessions are fears that children/teens cannot stop thinking about and things that cause them to be anxious. The fears can include:


  • worrying or focusing on whether something is straight, even, or placed in an exact way
  • worrying or focusing on whether something is clean, dirty, or germy
  • thoughts that they, or someone else, will get sick, hurt, or die
  • worrying that they said a bad word, had a bad thought, or made a mistake
  • whether they have broken a rule, done a bad thing, or sinned
  • thinking that something is lucky or unlucky, bad or good, safe or harmful
  • refusing to use a certain restroom
  • have chapped hands because they can’t stop washing their hands


Compulsions are behaviors that children/teens repeat over and over, thinking that these things have to be done to make sure things are in order, or safe or to be “just right.” Compulsions impact how you have to function as a family because they have to take their rituals into account. Compulsions can include:


  • washing and cleaning
  • having things in a specific order
  • touching or tapping a certain number of times, or a set way
  • counting to a certain 'good' number, avoiding "unlucky" numbers
  • often erasing things, re-writing, re-doing, or re-reading
  • repeating a word, phrase, or question much more than necessary
  • going in and out of doorways several times in a row
  • checking to make sure a light is off, a door is locked, or checking and re-checking homework


It may take time for parents to notice that their child is potentially dealing with OCD, there are some signs that will help you decide to bring your child in for an evaluation:


  • get upset and lose their temper if they can't make something perfect or if something is out of place
  • feel and act irritable, upset, sad, or anxious
  • have trouble concentrating on schoolwork, or enjoying activities
  • take much too long to do everyday tasks, like getting dressed, organizing a backpack, completing homework, or taking a shower
  • seem unsure of whether things are OK
  • have trouble deciding or choosing
  • insist that a parent say or do something an exact way


At Cameron Pediatric Counseling, we exclusively work with children and teenagers, we are very familiar with OCD and helping your child with it.  We work with your child to teach them how to face their fears and learn to cope with them, and how to resist their compulsions. We also work with the parents on how to respond during OCD situations and how to support your child’s progress. With children it will present differently that it does with adults, let us sort it out as it might be presenting as something else.



Cameron Pediatric Counseling, Inc.


19 S. Cameron Street, Winchester VA

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