Signs that Your Child May Have OCD


If you suspect your child may be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, there are some symptoms directly related to the problem. Dr. Frank Lawlis, Chairman of the Dr. Phil Advisory Board, provides the following checklist to help recognize the symptoms. Place a check mark next to all those that apply to your child, not occasionally, but on most days:


1.    Your child has intrusive, persistent thoughts and images that interfere with day-to-day functioning, including interfering with emotional access to positive feelings, such as joy and peace. (  )

2.    Your child has intrusive, persistent images that often trigger anxiety and stress. (  )

3.    Your child may attempt to control these intrusive thoughts by excessive behaviors to reduce stress.  (  )

4.    Your child’s attempts are unsuccessfully to ignore the intrusive images with some distracting thoughts or actions. (  )

5.    Although your child may recognize the thoughts or images as irrational, he/she feels driven to reduce the resulting anxiety and frustration at all costs. (  )

6.    Often your child feels the irrational compulsion to perform certain activities, such as washing his or her hands, counting, etc., as a means to reduce anxiety. (  )

7.    The time it takes to deal with these intrusive thoughts and images takes up at least an hour of every day and interferes with the daily routine. (  )

8.    Your child often feels depressed because of the persistent memories of regret and disillusionments. (  )

9.    At times, images or thoughts are triggered by external events and your child can’t control them or find ways for them to diminish in intensity. (  )

10.    In an attempt to control the onset of anxiety and frustration, your child tries to behave in a perfectionist manner in work, in the hopes that by doing so, he/she won’t be criticized. (  )

11.    In order to maintain control over the intrusion of ruminating thoughts and images, your child becomes rigid in daily routines or to a specific set of rules, such that any deviation from that routine can trigger anxiety. (  )

12.    Your child’s cravings keep spinning in his/her thoughts without resolution, causing constant and extreme stress. (  )

13.    Your child is not satisfied until there is a level of perfection to the product. (  )

14.    Your child cannot release feelings of guilt even when there is no reason for it. (  )

15.    Your child cannot release problems of the past that have been forgiven and forgotten. (  )

Scoring: If you checked off more than eight of these symptoms, there’s a reasonable chance your child’s brain is vulnerable to stress-inducing rumination patterns. Perpetual conflict isn’t good. Please consider getting your child professional help.