Your Child Can Get Better With Effective Treatment
Information for Parents

What Other Symptoms Might Be OCD?

OCD doesn’t have to rule your life.  If you’re struggling with symptoms like these, ask your parents to get you treatment for OCD.  It won’t go away by itself.

OCD symptoms can be as varied as the people who have them.  But there are some “warning signs” that can indicate OCD, or another anxiety disorder.  Remember, OCD and anxiety disorders ARE treatable.  Noticing what’s wrong is a step in the right direction towards getting better.

Could any of these situations describe your situation?

  • OCD takes up so much time in the morning that you’re constantly late for school or you have to perform certain actions or mental rituals between classes (such as praying, counting, saying certain phrases) so you’re late for the next class.  This might include opening and closing your locker a certain number of times, counting steps or leaving a room only to have to reenter it many times so that you feel OK about leaving it.  This could also happen when going up and down stairs—it takes so many trips up and down to feel “right” that you’re exhausted and late for your ride, the bus, your next class, meals, etc.
  • You have a lot of trouble paying attention in class or concentrating on homework assignments because you are constantly thinking about your fears or “bad” thoughts, and trying not to perform the actions that would make you feel better (temporarily).  No matter how hard you try to get rid of the thoughts, they just won’t go away.  And you would be embarrassed if anyone saw you perform the compulsions in class or in public.
  • You’re not able to complete in-class assignments or homework assignments because they’re “not done well enough” or aren’t “right” and you always seem to run out of time.
  • Your compulsive actions take up so much time at night that, not only is your homework not done, you also are up so late that you’re not getting enough sleep—and you’re so tired the next day you can barely make it through your classes.
  • You used to get good grades, but now your grades have really slipped (and you realize it’s because obsessions and compulsions are getting in the way of studying, participating in class or completing homework assignments).
  • Your uncontrollable fears, worries and unwanted thoughts are severely straining a relationship—at home, with friends, or at school.
  • You’re so distressed over your appearance that you simply can’t go to school or face anyone, including your family or friends.
  • You’re afraid you might seriously hurt someone because you can’t stop thinking about hurting them, or you keep having violent or bizarre thoughts about hurting others.
  • You believe that your thoughts can cause things to happen or not happen.

If any of this sounds like you (or someone you know), speak up.  As hard as it might be to ask for help, or talk about obsessions and compulsions with your parents, living with it is harder.  The sooner you start getting treatment, the sooner you can start being more like the YOU you used to be.

OCD Spectrum Symptoms

There can be other unusual symptoms that are having a negative impact on your life.  Sometimes these are seen along with OCD, and the disorders they represent are called “OCD spectrum disorders”.  Some of those symptoms may include:

  • You secretly pull out hair, bite your nails, or pick at your skin.  At first, you didn’t worry too much about it, but now you’re starting to see some “bare” spots in your hair, or your nails are so bitten that they bleed.  Maybe where you’ve picked at your skin is starting to develop “sores”, but you continue to pick at them.  Now you’re afraid people will notice, but you can’t stop.
  • It may seem you’ve always been concerned about your weight, but now you’re “obsessed” with it, constantly reviewing your appearance. Maybe you’re not eating very much, or making yourself vomit after a meal to keep from gaining weight.
  • These symptoms are not just different; they can also be dangerous to your health.  It’s a good idea to ask for help before these disorders get worse.

Other Related Symptoms

Sometimes there are related disorders that are not OCD but may exist along with OCD.  These include depression, attention-deficit disorders, tic disorders (body, facial or vocal twitches or sounds), stress disorders, panic disorders (“panic attacks”), or feeling alienated from everyone else.

While it may be hard to tell your parents or a teacher you trust that you are experiencing symptoms that are just “not YOU”, you can get better a lot faster if you don’t keep hiding the symptoms and get evaluated by a doctor—so you can get the right treatment for the right problem.  You owe it to yourself to get better, and get back to enjoying life!

More about treatment for OCD

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