May 14, 2011

Does my daughter have OCD?

Category: Childhood Disorders
Posted By: Annabel
My daughter 11 years old, bright, fun loving has developed a pattern of behaviour – habit, that she struggles to get rid off. The only way she stops one is when she starts another one. This is usually moving head particular way very frequently (every few seconds) – which in return can cause neck pain. To prevent that she just develops moving head different way. She is aware of it, but unable to control.
A couple of years ago she had an obsession with a worry that something bad will happen to her – what if she starts choking, bleeding…..this has stopped but it seems that it moved to the behaviour described above.  Is this associated with OCD? What help can I get for her?

Answer:

Your daughter's behaviour sounds like a classic motor tic.  These can be pretty common in some age groups for a short period and are called 'transient tics'.  However, there are a few things that lead me to think you might need to think more carefully about your daughter's difficulty.  Firstly she is older than the 7-9 year old common age range for classic transient tics.  Secondly, although you don't say how long it has been going on for, you have described a couple of mutations so I am guessing that its been going on for a little while.  And thirdly you described an initial anxiety from which you believe this might have stemmed.  If a tic persists in the long term it will be classed as a 'chronic tic' and these are more difficult to deal with and can persist into adulthood.  As it stands your daughter's behaviour would not be classed as OCD, as this would require several symptoms and/or rituals/beliefs to persist over a period of time.  However, both have a similar basis in  underlying anxiety. 

As regards what you can do for her, I would love to be able to say please don't worry, I'm sure it will resolve on its own, and it may well.  But as I have mentioned above there are a few aspects which make me think that it would be worth looking more carefully at what might be going on and what the underlying cause might be.  I think it would be safest to take your daughter for an assessment with a child psychotherapist to guage whether it is something that needs or can be helped by therapeutic support.  Alternatively you could start with your GP as a route to help on the NHS but be aware that resources are very limited for help in this area.



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