Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Anxiety Disorder Top Questions Answered

The following are the top 7 most commonly asked questions that parents have asked me through the years about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) when it comes to their child. Note: if you are an adult and you think you have OCD, the answers to these questions although focused on the child with OCD, is quite informative for an adult with OCD as well.

The following are brief to-the-point answers, a crash course on OCD from me, Dr. Karen, to you, my reader.

1. What is OCD?

OCD is a type of anxiety disorder. OCD is the urge to do things repetitively in thought and/or behavioral action. It is the presence of unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses.

Repetitive acts are rituals and compulsions that are carried out by the child in an effort to reduce anxiety caused by the unwanted thoughts. Although people with OCD do indeed feel a brief sense of relief when they do a compulsion, it is those very compulsions that strengthen the OCD thoughts encouraging them to return. The more the person does the compulsions the stronger the illness becomes.

2. Why does my child have OCD?

Research has found that anxiety disorders often run in families. Although, do note that it is not uncommon for a parent to report one’s child has OCD and as far as they know, no one else in the family has been diagnosed with OCD nor any other form of anxiety disorder. Most commonly explained within the medical profession, OCD appears where there is an imbalance in one’s serotonin. It is not your child’s fault. Life events can worsen or trigger the onset of OCD in people who are prone to develop it.

3. How common is OCD in the youth population?

The most up to date research suggests that 1 in 100 children have OCD. Note: There may be more children that have OCD and the parent does not realize it as it is not uncommon for a parent to not realize that their child has OCD.

4. Can talk therapy really help my child? What’s the prognosis?

Yes, talk therapy can absolutely help your child. Research has shown that the prognosis is that with proper treatment most can live free of its symptoms or manage their symptoms productively and live a healthy and happy life.

5. What kind of counseling can help my child?

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the most recommended form of counseling for OCD.

6. Why can Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) help the child experiencing OCD?

Talk therapy, specifically utilizing CBT as the therapeutic style can help because this style of therapy helps the person to:

a) Learn to use the power of their own behavior to change their thoughts and feelings.

b) Learn concrete strategies to resist compulsions. Resisting OCD urges are difficult, therefore strategies are necessary.

c) Learn to face one’s fears in a safe way little by little without doing compulsions. Specifically, the therapist helps the client to utilize new ways of reacting to worries and fears without performing rituals.

d) Learn new ways to react to OCD thoughts that “re-sets” the brain. Over time the client feels safe and stronger about dealing with compulsions.

7. Can my child quickly be symptom free if he goes to counseling?

It is not fast, nor easy to live symptom free of OCD. It takes patience, practice, and hard work.


Read about OCD and teenagers.

If you think you or your child has anxiety and it appears to be obsessive compulsive in its display, please seek out help now. The earlier this form of anxiety is addressed, the faster the person can live symptom free or symptom managed. At Dr. Karen Ruskin & Associates we have therapists that specialize in the youth population to help your child with his anxiety, OCD, and other personal challenges. If you are an adult in need of counseling whether it is for OCD or other life struggles, we have skilled therapists that are invested in helping you and your family.



4 thoughts on “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Anxiety Disorder Top Questions Answered”

  1. I think my daughter has signs of OCD and I am looking for a therapist in my area. We went to one in New Hampshire but I think we need one that deals with OCD and anxiety. Could you recommend anyone in the Pepperell area. I would love to have her see your therapist but the commute would be too much. Thank you Susan Campano

    1. I am so glad that you felt comfortable to contact me. Good for you for having your antennas up re your daughter. I do not have any direct contacts in the town you are asking about. 2 helpful websites: http://www.aamft.org as well as http://www.psychologytoday.com Both sites allow you to see the therapists specialties and you can look specifically in the town of interest. Also, contact your insurance company specifically for the mental health benefits department and share with them what specialty you are looking for, they have a list of their providers specialties. Hope this helps. I wish you all the best. Warmly, Dr. Karen Ruskin

  2. my son started asking me questions like: my hands touched the sofa, did I get it dirty? I accidentally touched your food, can I give you infection? It goes on and on again, he understands it himself and does not know how to end these questions. what is the best approach? it started a few weeks ago,when I talked to him about it, he stated he is constantly worried that he will hurt somebody or do something bad. he does not have any repetetive movements/actions.

    1. Hi Vicky, I am so glad that you reached out. A common feature of OCD is to start out with intrusive worries, which creates anxiety. Then, when not dealt with, anxiety leads to a ritual, a repetitive action, thereby shifting anxiety to OCD. OCD is a form of anxiety, OCD is an anxiety disorder. Catching a potentially early pre-disposition for OCD, catching what may be OCD symptoms is wonderful because it is much easier to deal with when caught early on. Your son can learn cognitive and behavioral strategies to help him that will ease his anxiety and manage his worry. To answer your question, the best approach is to share with him that you feel he is experiencing anxiety. Share with him you and he can speak with a professional that specializes in educating kids and families on what to do about anxiety so it is not so consuming. Ask him if he would like to go for help with you to ease his emotional discomfort and explain the process is by talking with a therapist about his worries and she/he teaches him what to say and do to help himself. I hope this answers your question. If you live in Massachusetts, we have a wonderful team of therapists here at Dr. Karen Ruskin & Associates. I would be happy to refer you to a member of our team that would be the best fit, simply email me directly outside of this blog post at: [email protected]. If you live out of state great resources are: http://www.aamft.org, http://www.psychologytoday.com, your pediatrician, or your health insurance and ask for a therapist that specializes in children with anxiety/OCD. Warmly, Dr. Karen

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