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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
The William Alanson White Institute Clinical Services
Established in 1948
20 West 74th Street, NY, NY 10023
Questions? Please call: (212) 873-7070
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by repeated obsessions and/or compulsions that interfere with the child/adolescent’s ability to function socially, occupationally, or educationally.
An obsession is defined as a thought, impulse, or image that either recurs or persists and causes severe anxiety. Typical obsessions in children/adolescents are concerned with:
- Obsessions about aggressive, sexual and harm related themes with checking compulsions. Checking compulsions refers to a set of repetitive behavioral patterns (checking light switches, doors) with the goal of seeking reassurance and decrease anxiety.
- Obsessions about symmetry that are accompanied by arranging or repeating compulsions.
- Obsessions of contamination which are associated with cleaning compulsions.
A compulsion is a ritual/behavior that a child/adolescent with OCD engages in repeatedly, either because of his/her particular obsessions or in an attempt to follow a familiar yet rigid set of rules. These obsessions may result in compulsions like excessive hand washing, skin picking, door checking, or repeatedly arranging items.
Children/Adolescents with OCD are more likely to also develop chronic hair pulling (trichotillomania), muscle or vocal tics (Tourette's disorder), or an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. OCD symptoms also predispose the child/adolescent to developing other mood problems, like depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder, as well as having excessive concerns about their bodies (somatoform disorders).
The Center’s interpersonal psychotherapy approach offers an excellent framework for the child/adolescent to explore the irrational nature of thoughts and behaviors within the safety of the therapeutic relationship. It is in this context that other family members are appropriately engaged in the treatment in order to support and enable the child/adolescent to experience new ways of interacting with the world.
If you think your child is suffering from OCD, the Child & Family Center’s highly trained child mental health professionals can help.
Contact Us Today
The William Alanson White Institute established its award-winning, low-cost treatment center in 1948 to provide affordable psychotherapy and psychoanalysis to members of the community. Since that time, thousands of individuals and families have been served by our highly skilled clinicians. Download the Child & Family Center application or call (212) 873-7070 for more information.