The coronavirus pandemic has made our cleaning habits more serious. Now we put in more effort to keep anything clean. At present, habits like hand washing, surface cleaning are common for us, but these habits are creating problems for people suffering from the mental illness Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It has had a bad effect on the children.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental condition in which a person suffering from fear or anxiety keeps repeating the same things over and over again. For example, constantly washing hands, checking something, again and again, collecting things many times. OCD consists of two things – obsession and compulsion. Obsessions are thoughts, desires, feelings over which a person has no control. At the same time, compulsion is said to repeat anything over and over again.
Symptoms of OCD are seen in children
It becomes difficult for parents to track the changed behaviour of children. They find it difficult to know whether the child is doing this for safety or out of compulsion. In May, a 15-year-old boy met his friend from a distance of 6 feet after a long time. According to children’s psychologist John Duffy, when the child returned home, he had a different fear about the virus. He started washing his hands several times, stopped touching any surface. Dr Duffy said the number of patients he had with OCD-like symptoms had tripled.
- Frequent hand washing or bathing or cleaning your belongings
- Frequently checking doors, taps, etc. to see if they are closed
- Checking things unnecessarily, such as locks, gas switches, etc.
- Keeping old things like magazines, newspapers, bottles etc.
- Counting over and over, repeating certain words over and over
- Repeated writing, erasing, repeatedly reading etc.
Parents can find out the difference in their children’s behaviour in these ways.
Also check out: OCD – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Sub Categories of OCD in children
Obsession: When a particular type of thought comes repeatedly and continuously in the mind of the child, it is called obsession. Some thoughts could be:
- Anxiety about yourself or your belongings coming into contact with germs or dirt
- Fear of harming someone else
- Trying to put everything neatly and neatly at all times
Compulsion: This is a behaviour that you feel the need to repeat over and over again. Compulsion is usually done as part of an attempt to get rid of obsessions. For example, if you’re afraid of dirt, you’ll probably end up cleaning more frequently. You will wash your hands again and again thinking that the bacteria will be killed but still there is no relief. Doing the same thing over and over again that maybe doing it this time will get rid of that thought but it doesn’t happen. That cycle continues. This disease affects all aspects of a child’s life. Not only does it have an impact on his everyday life, but it also has a bad effect on his friendships and his self-confidence. In such a situation, the role of parents becomes very important. They should instil confidence in their child, but at the same time take care not to treat the child differently from their other children. Since the child spends most of his time with his friends and school, it is appropriate to inform the school teacher about his illness.
Also check out: Bipolar disorder and suicide – Things to avoid
Try to know the fear of children
Tara Paris, a professor at the University of California and of the Child OCD Anxiety and Tic Disorders Program, says that it’s okay to be alert, but in OCD you are strangely scared. Parents should monitor their child’s behaviour and see what is happening differently.
For example, the CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after coming from a public place. Doctor Paris said “If someone is washing their hands 20 to 30 times a day or spending 15 to 20 minutes in the bathroom while washing their hands, then they are excessively worried. If their behaviour is related to family, friendship, and child. If it is affecting school work then it is a danger sign.”
Parents trust your thinking
Dr Duffy said that one problem is that it is difficult to trace a person’s changed behaviour. He said, “I advise parents to have faith in themselves. If your child seems to be emotionally weak or out of your expectations, then seek the advice of an expert.”
Treatment is essential
Behavioural therapy with exposure response prevention will be most effective for patients with mild to moderate OCD. Under this, the patient has to be introduced to such a thing, which he is afraid of. Eric Storch, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine and an expert in obsessive-compulsive disorder, said that this treatment helps reduce symptoms in up to 75% of cases. Medicines may also be given along with therapy in more severe cases.
Lara Koelikar, 18, has been undergoing treatment for OCD since the age of 8. She said she had been battling severe symptoms for three years before she saw an exposure therapy specialist. This treatment taught him to handle the symptoms.
Also check out: 10 Easy Ways to lose weight at home!
Get therapy via the internet
Many therapists are also treating patients through video calls. Jennifer Freeman, director of research and training at Bradley Hospital’s Pediatric Anxiety Research Center, said it may be helpful to give the patient at-home exposure treatment via the Internet. For example, children are afraid of a member of their household, a pet, or any part of the house. She said, “On Zoom, I can ask the patient, can you show me your room? Can you show me what is that couch you are afraid of, do you think you can sit there. “
Parents understand children’s feelings
Dr Freeman said that in addition to therapy, listening to children’s words should be a priority for parents. He said, “Children are feeling whatever they are feeling and be prepared to have difficult conversations so that our inner tension is relieved. Children should not be told that they do not need to be sad or worried.”