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OCD in Kids is Difficult to Diagnose

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder often characterized by unwanted thoughts or repetitive behaviors. In children, OCD is difficult to diagnose and a definitive diagnosis is often delayed.

A new German study discusses diagnostic and treatment challenges of OCD, in the journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International. In the article, Susanne Walitza, M.D., and colleagues point out that appropriate early recognition and treatment can positively affect the course of the disease.

Walitza discovered that compulsive washing, the most common obsessive-compulsive manifestation among children and adolescents, is present in up to 87 percent of all patients.

Children may also demonstrate compulsive repetitive behavior and checking, and obsessive thoughts of an aggressive type.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is present in more than 70 percent of patients. Obsessive-compulsive disorder presenting in childhood or adolescence often becomes chronic and impairs mental health onward into adulthood.

Researchers believe the specific manifestations of obsessive-compulsive disorder can be diagnosed early with psychodiagnostic testing.

Behavioral therapy, although time-consuming, has been found effective and is considered a first-line treatment. In behavioral therapy, the patient is confronted with the situation that precipitates the obsessive-compulsive manifestations, while suppressing the manifestations.

Second-line treatment consists of behavioral therapeutic intervention combined with drug therapy.

Despite intensive treatment, the pervasive nature of the disorder often means that patients will need ongoing psychotherapy or combination therapy to prevent a later recurrence.

Experts believe much is still to be learned about the disorder. Currently, researchers believe the disorder stems from a complex, multifactorial combination of psychological, neurobiological, and genetic factors.

Source: Deutsches Aerzteblatt International

OCD in Kids is Difficult to Diagnose

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). OCD in Kids is Difficult to Diagnose. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 17, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2012/11/28/ocd-in-kids-is-difficult-to-diagnose/48238.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.