Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), affects more adolescents than many people may think. According to the journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, the prevalence of OCD among children and adolescents is between one to three percent. The journal article reports that about 20% of those diagnosed in the U.S. “suffer from manifestations of the disorder at age 10 or even earlier.” While statistics like these may feel discouraging, it should be encouraging to know that there are many ways to manage and treat your daughter’s OCD. With the right help, she can live a symptom-free life.

What Exactly Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

It is important to acquire a basic understanding of what OCD is. People often use the term casually in conversation without a true familiarity with what this disorder involves.

According to Doctors Hannah Brock and Manassa Hany, in their publication, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, “Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is often a disabling condition consisting of bothersome intrusive thoughts that elicit a feeling of discomfort. To reduce the anxiety and distress associated with these thoughts, the patient may employ compulsions or rituals.”

Also, according to Brock and Hany, “These rituals may be personal and private, or they may involve others participating; the rituals are to compensate for the ego-dystonic feelings of the obsessional thoughts and can cause a significant decline in function.” It is in these rituals that many of the signs and symptoms of OCD can be detected.

What Are the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

As with other disorders, OCD can involve many signs and symptoms that don’t fit the exact mold of what is predominantly reported. However, there are some more universal signs and symptoms that can help us detect whether OCD is present. The following are just a few of those warning signs:

  • Obsessive hand washing, sometimes to the point of uncomfortable redness and chapping
  • Excessive cleaning and organizing
  • Constant “checking,” such as making sure that doors are locked, the refrigerator is shut, or the oven is off
  • Obsessive counting and recounting of objects
  • Hoarding items and placing uncommon value on them
  • Continually asking for reassurance about their actions and behaviors
  • Having racing thoughts
  • Trying to neutralize racing thoughts with distracted thinking (which simply creates a vicious cycle)
  • Regularly repeating words over and over in their heads

How Common Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Alongside Substance Use Disorder?

OCD is also one of the more common co-occurring disorders, and it often appears alongside substance use disorder (SUD). According to the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, “Elevated comorbidity rates [of OCD and SUD] have been reported in the general population as well as in substance use treatment samples. Data derived from the Epidemiological Catchment Area (ECA) estimate that 24% of individuals with OCD meet lifetime criteria for life-controlling disorders, [and] 18% meet lifetime criteria for a drug use disorder.”

Unfortunately, having a comorbidity of OCD with SUD can complicate treatment plans. However, there are many effective evidence-based treatment options that can work well for both solo OCD and co-occurring OCD with SUD.

How Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Best Treated?

OCD is often best treated with psychotherapies or “talk therapies,” like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). These therapies can help uncover some of the deep-seated emotions that are often the root causes of OCD behaviors.

Once detected, these therapies can also help your daughter learn to manage her behaviors associated with them. For example, being able to detect when anxious emotions are surfacing can help her avoid any compulsive behaviors before they start.

Utilizing medications for OCD is also very common and accepted. the most common medication utilized for treating OCD tends to be antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, it is important to remember that medication often only mutes the symptoms so the real work can go on interrupted in therapy. This is why a comprehensive recovery plan is so important.

The Importance of Comprehensive Mental Health Care at Clearview Girls Academy

Here at Clearview Girls Academy, we don’t believe in “one-size-fits-all” recovery. Broad recovery plans rarely work, which is why all of our plans are customized and individualized to meet each student’s needs.

Also, our recovery plans are always comprehensive. For example, with OCD we know that certain therapies work. However, we also know that they work a lot better alongside other types of recovery tools like nutrition therapy and holistic practices like yoga.

OCD is not a simple issue, which is why we don’t offer simple recovery plans. We offer our students the in-depth tools and life skills they need to ensure a long-term recovery. Our comprehensive, effective plans protect our students’ peace and give them the leg-up they deserve as young women just starting out in the world.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is more common among teens than many people may realize. This is why being able to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of OCD, can be crucial. Missing or dismissing them as simply “odd” behaviors can seriously delay much-needed treatment. If you believe your daughter may be struggling with OCD or the co-occurring disorders of OCD and SUD, we can help get her on the right path to recovery. Don’t wait to reach out. The sooner she gets help, the sooner she can feel symptom-free. For more information about OCD, its warning signs, and how it can best be treated, please reach out to Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484.