Psychological Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

It is estimated that 1 in 200 young people experience OCD. OCD is a neurobehavioral disorder, meaning that it is thought to originate in the brain, and it affects behavior, as well as thoughts and feelings. It involves Obsessions and Compulsions, which are time consuming and interfere with your child’s day-to-day activities.

Obsessions: Obsessions are unwanted thoughts, ideas, images, or impulses. They occur over and over again and are difficult to control. Obsessions are distressing and result in anxiety, fear, doubt, shame, or disgust.

Compulsions: Compulsions, or rituals, are the behaviors or acts performed in response to compulsions in order to neutralize them or make them go away. They can be done in the open, such as washing, or secretly, such as mentally checking. Often times, people will avoid situations that trigger their obsessions. Additionally, family members are often involved in a child’s compulsions (e.g., Mom must wash dishes in a certain order).

Helpful Websites

Obsessive Compulsive Foundation
The Anxiety Disorders Association of America
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (Look for OCD in “Health Topics”)

Books for Parents & Caregivers

Talking Back to OCD
By John S. March

Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Power, Practical Program for Parents of Children and Adolescents
By Tamar Chansky

What to Do When Your Child Has OCD: Strategies and Solutions
by Aureen Pinto Wagner

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Help for Children and Adolescents
by Mitzi Waltz

The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing
by Judith Rapaport

Books for Children & Teens 
*Books about OCD in adults, which may be helpful for teens

What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck
By Dawn Huebner

Up and Down the Worry Hill: A Children’s Book about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Its Treatment
by Aureen Pinto Wagner

*Stop Obsessing!
By Edna Foa

*Over and Over Again: Understanding OCD
by Fugen Neziroglu & Jose A. Yaruda Tobias

*The OCD Workbook (2nd ed.)
by Bruce M. Hyman & Cherry Pedrick


When Unwanted Thoughts Take Over: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder