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Understanding Teen OCD: Symptoms, Challenges, and Evidence-Based Treatments

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) entails a multitude of unwanted, patterned thoughts and fears, known as obsessions, that lead to repetitive actions, known as compulsions. Trying to stop or ignore the obsessions leads to heightened anxiety and stress until compulsive behaviors are acted upon to relieve the anxiety and stress in the short-term. People with OCD engage in a vicious cycle of ritualistic behaviors driven by the need to rid themselves of bothersome thoughts or urges.   

Every patient can be different with their specific obsessions and compulsions, but there are some common symptoms in teens with OCD. OCD can cause teens to have urgent, catastrophic obsessions that disrupt sleep, prevent eating, and lead to overwhelming despair. One commonly seen obsession is the cleanliness obsession, often being seen as a germaphobe. A common compulsion is the need to perform and repeat a task a certain number of times. The adolescent will obsess to the point that it will interfere with their everyday lives (e.g. school, chores).  

At Protected Roots Integrative (PRI) Treatment Center, we integrate evidence-based therapeutic strategies and interventions (e.g. exposure response prevention) to treat OCD at outpatient levels of care. Depending on your child’s specific obsessions and/or compulsions, we utilize our various treatment avenues (e.g. individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy) to create a treatment plan that best supports your adolescent and family. We will be there with your family every step of the way to address each obsession and/or compulsion as they occur and teach your adolescent and family ways in which to be able to address the obsessions and/or compulsions on your own. 

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