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Believe I Have OCD

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I'm a 16 year old male teen and i'm a bit worried. I believe i have OCD, but not sure it'll define the same exact definition of OCD? Anyways, i have many mental images going around my mind that i have to stop at times and think about these images and if i don't do them right, i feel like i didn't pleasure God enough and fear of death of a family member or close friends. Sometimes if I touch something, say sniffing something, i would need to sniff if it twice. If it doesn't hit my nose around the second time, like it did the first time, i have to do it again till I get it right. Every night, I would need to look out the window before i turn off my lights and go to bed. And many times i would need to make sure my closet doors are closed tightly. If I don't close them right, i would need to do it again, again, and again. I've talked to a friend and sister-in-law about this issue, and they have both advised me to visit a therapist and get evaluated. I haven't had the chance to take the risk of explaining it to my parents because they never understand these kind of mental sickness and misunderstandings and I feel like they wouldn't be a big support system if they're clueless about what I'm going through(what OCD IS.). Is this something that I would need to take action immediately? And if so, how? What would you recommend me to do? I seriously need this help, it's really annoying, uncontrollable and depressing. I get very tired of it and have gotten a bit moody around people lately. Many times, i've been noticing that I like to be alone, in my own world and feeling care free, and that's not normal. A lot of things have been changing since I've been going through this, and it all started at 12 years old. I think enough is enough. This seriously stresses me out and i hate it. I really want my life back. Please, help...
Signed: Believe I Have OCD

Dear Believe I Have OCD,


TeenHealthFX agrees with your friend and sister-in-law that you need to meet with a mental health professional who can give you an accurate diagnosis based on your symptoms, and who can develop an effective treatment plan with you based on that diagnosis. You are describing certain compulsive behaviors, so it is certainly possible that you have OCD – but only by meeting with a mental health professional can you get a definitive answer about that. Even if a therapist does not think your symptoms qualify as OCD, you are clearly in emotional distress right now and engaging in certain repetitive and checking behaviors that are very bothersome to you – and you need guidance and support as to how to deal with those things.

FX also thinks a therapist could assist you with the concerns you mentioned about your family. A therapist could help to educate your parents about your symptoms, what some of the contributing factors might be, and how they can best be addressed. This takes the pressure off of you to explain it all on your own. You also mentioned that you do not see your family as being a big support system for you – and this can be a problem for teens whether they are going through a difficult time or not as feeling loved and supported by parents helps teens to feel safe and secure in many different ways. In addition to helping you with the symptoms you have described, a therapist could help to address the relationship issues within your family that have you feeling like you would not have their support.

Talk to your parents as soon as possible about having a consultation with a mental health professional. You could explain to them how you are feeling, the importance to you of having a consultation as soon as possible, and your concerns that they may not take what you have to say seriously or get you the help you need. If you feel with your parents it would be better not to go into too many details about it, just tell them that you are noticing some problematic changes in your mood and behavior and would like to have a consultation with someone to find out what can be done about it. You can tell them you would rather meet with someone first before going into too much detail about it if you are worried they won’t understand what you have to say. Once you are in therapy you can rely on the therapist to help you with all of that. If your parents are resistant to setting up a consultation, then speak to someone who can advocate on your behalf – a sibling, your sister-in-law, a counselor at school, your family doctor – anyone who can speak to your parents and encourage them to take you to a clinical social worker or psychologist for an evaluation. Keep letting trusted adults know about your situation until you are connected with the professional help you need.

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. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.


To learn more about OCD, go to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) webpage Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD and the Mayo Clinic webpage on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Signed: TeenHealthFX