Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a unique type of anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that get “stuck” in an individual’s mind–causing them significant distress–as well as behaviors that help to alleviate the distress. These behaviors, called compulsions, can range from something as ordinary as distracting oneself with something pleasant, to something such as atypical as tapping an item a specific number of times before using it. Over time, many individuals with OCD suffer greater impairment from their compulsions than from their initial worrisome thought.
Parents may notice obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors in their children, but it typically takes a trained clinician to determine whether a particular pattern of anxiety is consistent with OCD. If you or your child becomes stuck on a particular, seemingly irrational thought that causes distress at unexpected times, or engages in new and unexplained behaviors repeatedly, it may be helpful to seek a psychological consultation.
OCD-oriented services at BCSC: