When do worries and rituals become a disorder?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is diagnosed when both obsessions (aka worries) and compulsions (aka rituals) start taking up so much time in your day that it causes problems at home, at school, or with friends. While many kids have some worries and rituals, the difference is that sometimes they become persistent and problematic. Among kids and teens, it is usually easier to notice compulsions (such as elaborate rituals, tantrums, and confessions) than obsessions.
What types of OCD and related disorders problems for kids, teens, and young adults?
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs)
- Hoarding Disorder
What is the best therapy for OCD and related disorders?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the gold standard for the treatment of OCD. CBT helps us to understand how thoughts (aka cognitions), feelings, and behaviors all interact. CBT helps with anxiety by identifying anxious thoughts and actions that we can change to better manage our anxious feelings.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a strategy used in CBT to change compulsive behaviors such as avoidance and reassurance seeking. ERP involves gradual exposure (think: baby steps) towards the things we fear most while preventing the anxious response.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is pronounced like the word “act” as in “actor.” ACT is a type of CBT that uses mindfulness to accept emotions rather than get rid of them using unhealthy behaviors such as compulsions. ACT works well with older children, teens, and young adults who are struggling with OCD and related disorders.
Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) is another specific type of CBT that helps parents to manage anxious behavior from their kids or teens. SPACE treatment involves working with parents to reduce accommodation so that kids and teens can become more independent in managing their OCD and related disorders.
For Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs), Habit Reversal Training (HRT) helps to increase awareness of the urge to begin a repetitive behavior and respond in a different way. The Comprehensive Model for Behavioral (COMB) Treatment helps in a similar way to identify and change the relationship to the repetitive behavior.
How does online therapy for OCD and related disorders work?
Online therapy for OCD and related disorders involves a lot of learning, talking, and practicing. For younger kids (ages 3 to 12), parents might play a larger role in the treatment and might even be present for the entire session. For older kids and teens (ages 12 to 17), parents might only be present for a few minutes at the start and the end of session to help apply what was learned to the home environment. For young adults (ages 18+), sessions will be held individually. Online therapy for OCD and related disorders is wonderful because ERP practice can happen right where the disorder is causing the most difficulty – at home, at school, or even out in the world. For the first few sessions, we will learn about each other and about how OCD and related disorders work. For the rest of treatment, we will be practicing our skills while facing our fears – and feeling fierce while we do it!
When to Seek Help
If you, your child, or your teen might be struggling with an anxiety disorder, it might be time to bring in a professional to figure out what’s be going on. Anxiety often presents as worry or fear, but it might also present as irritability and anger. Contact Brave Young Minds to schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation to determine if online therapy might be a good fit. If you’re ready to schedule an evaluation right now, request an appointment today.