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OCD in Children Fact Sheet

A brief summary for parents who suspect their children might have OCD.

Approximately 1 out of every 200 children has OCD.

One-third of adults with OCD developed symptoms when they were children.

Boys are more likely to begin OCD symptoms before puberty, while girls are more likely to begin OCD symptoms during adolescence. By their teen years, girls are as likely as boys to have OCD.

Compulsions are repetitious, ritualistic behaviors performed to cope with obsessive thoughts and feelings. To be diagnosed as OCD, these must be time consuming and interfere with school, social activities or social behavior.

Other disorders can be comorbid with OCD, such as anxiety disorders or learning disabilities.

OCD is a lifelong medical illness.

OCD symptoms may come and go, ease over time, or get worse.

Cognitive therapy is commonly used to treat OCD in children.

OCD often responds to treatment with certain medications and/or exposure-based psychotherapy, in which children face situations that cause fear or anxiety and become less sensitive (desensitized) to them.

Read more articles on OCD in children or see recommended books on OCD in children.

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