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  • Writer's pictureguyiacono

OCD in Teens

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Symptoms of OCD in Teens and What to Do About Them

If you want to help a teenager who might be struggling with OCD symptoms, the first thing you need to do is learn about this condition.

Diagnosing OCD in teenagers can be difficult because they tend to avoid asking for help. Encouraging and starting conversations is a great first step.

This blog post will cover OCD symptoms in teens and what a parent or guardian should be doing about them.


What is OCD?

OCD is short for “obsessive compulsive disorder”, a mental health condition characterized by obsessive and intrusive thoughts and compulsive behavior.

Teenagers with OCD may feel stuck in certain thoughts and actions, which can significantly impact their life quality.


What are Obsessions

Obsessions are intrusive, repetitive thoughts that cause anxiety. They can be about anything, but most people with OCD have thoughts about:

· Germs and illnesses

· Things that seem wrong

· Imperfectly placed objects

· Fears

· And more


What are Compulsions

Compulsions are actions or behaviors people with OCD feel a strong urge to perform. They usually carry out these actions just to stop their obsessive thoughts.

For instance, they may feel compelled to:

· Wash their hands over and over

· Write and erase repeatedly

· Recheck a lock multiple times

· Put things in a certain order

· Avoid numbers that they think are unlucky

· And more


What are the Signs of OCD in Teens

Symptoms of OCD are generally carried into adulthood, so most of them are common no matter the age of the patient.

These may include:

· Worrying too much about germs

· Extreme fears about doing something wrong

· Worrying about harming others

· Belief in superstitions

· Wanting things to be perfect

· Worrying about death

· And more


However, experiencing these symptoms doesn’t always mean the person has OCD; it’s when these symptoms start disrupting your day-to-day life.

Now, as mentioned before, compulsions are urges that make a person act out in order to address their unwanted obsessions.

Some prominent examples are:

· Excessively checking a door lock

· Constant and unwanted washing of hands

· Repeating some actions so that they’re just right

· Apologizing excessively

· Arranging things in a particular sequence or way

· And more


Effect of OCD On Teen Development

OCD symptoms can affect the quality of a teen’s home and school life. For instance, a teen with OCD may have a hard time socializing and managing routine tasks because of their compulsions.

These compulsions don’t only affect teens though; the whole family may need to become part of their compulsions.


But, OCD needs to be addressed by a mental health professional when it starts affecting the routine life of the teen.


Otherwise, the patient and their family might get stuck in the cycle of OCD, which can reduce the motivation of the teen to change.


How to Treat Symptoms of OCD in Teens?

Therapy is the best way to treat OCD symptoms in teens. A trained therapist will help the teen to manage their OCD obsessions and get rid of their compulsive behaviors for good.

Are OCD symptoms affecting the quality of your teen’s life? If so, as a therapist, I’d be more than happy to help!


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