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I Think I Have OCD

Published: November 16, 2010
Dear TeenHealthFX,

 

I am a 15-year-old female and I think I have OCD.  Most people (adults) agree with me. How can I know for sure? What IS it? Please help...It's getting worse...

 

Signed: I Think I Have OCD

Dear I Think I Have OCD,

 

Here is an excellent description of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder offered by the Mayo Clinic staff on the hospital’s website:

 

“Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). With obsessive-compulsive disorder, you may realize that your obsessions aren't reasonable, and you may try to ignore them or stop them. But that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease your stressful feelings. Obsessive-compulsive disorder often centers on themes, such as a fear of getting contaminated by germs. To ease your contamination fears, you may compulsively wash your hands until they're sore and chapped. Despite your efforts, thoughts of obsessive-compulsive behavior keep coming back. This leads to more ritualistic behavior — and a vicious cycle that's characteristic of obsessive-compulsive disorder.”

 

The only way to know for sure if you have an OCD diagnosis is to be seen by a mental health professional. OCD is a treatable condition sometimes with talk therapy (Cognitive/Behavioral approach has been shown to be the most effective form), sometimes with medication and very frequently with both. Left untreated OCD has a tendency to get worse so it is important to seek out treatment sooner than later. Even if it is not OCD there are behaviors that you seem to find undesirable and this will present you with the opportunity to work on them.

 

Let your parents know how much you have been struggling and have them help you find the appropriate treatment. Your pediatrician, school nurse, school counselor or insurance company can assist you in finding the appropriate doctor/therapist for you.

 

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area.

 

 

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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