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How is obsessive compulsive disorder in children treated?

Research has provided evidence for two effective obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) treatments in children.

One is medication, most commonly in the form of prescribed selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. The other -- often used in combination with the medication -- is a particular form of cognitive behavioral therapy called exposure and response prevention. “The child is exposed to the feared thought while resisting engaging in the compulsive behavior, in a graduated fashion -- practicing at first with something that’s just a little bit scary,” R. Lindsey Bergman, PhD explains. A reward system is used to reinforce the child’s attempts at engaging in exposure activities regardless of their success in resisting compulsions. Over time, and with follow-up at home, compulsive behaviors are extinguished, as the exposures demonstrate that negative consequences do not result when the compulsive behavior or ritual is resisted.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.