37: Is it OCD or Anxiety?
If your anxious kid has been going to therapy for a long time but it seems to be ineffective, then your kid might be suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and not anxiety.
OCD and anxiety are two disorders that are closely tied to each other but at the same time, they’re different and separate from each other. And thus, the need to distinguish between the two since there’s not enough discussion about it when in fact, it’s important.
We have nowhere to go but up
When someone comes in and gets diagnosed with OCD, I don’t look at that problem negatively. Parents have to be reminded that we have nowhere to go but up instead of scaring them and labelling it as the worst case scenario.
Although before starting Exposure Response Prevention, I felt like there was a better success rate with people having heroin addiction as compared to those diagnosed with OCD.
Sometimes, neurofeedback and other therapies are just not enough to stop these intrusive thoughts that creep into the minds of people with OCD. Just imagine how this would significantly affect a kid with OCD who has been hijacked with fear.
When we answer questions, we’re reinforcing their irrational fears
What most parents don’t know is that they’ve been feeding OCD whenever they entertain and answer questions. They have been unintentionally and unknowingly reinforcing irrational fears into the brain of their kid.
There’s no need to freak out because there’s a solution for you besides neurofeedback and therapies, and that is Exposure and Response Prevention. We will also be releasing a supplement line for OCD which you might want to watch out for.
The difference between OCD and anxiety
Many miss the difference between OCD and anxiety in terms of understanding. While OCD often starts with a nexus of anxiety, anxiety has a real worry. In line with this, the basis of OCD is from a minor part of reality but generally, it is completely irrational whereas anxiety is the basis of reality.
Obsessive compulsive disorder or what we’ve been calling as OCD stems from irrational fears or uncontrollable and intrusive thoughts. The obsessions are all in an effort to avoid something bad from happening.
With anxiety, it’s centred more on worries about things. And so, you can still have a brain that is looping and not turning off but it can be very real.
There are many nuances to OCD thoughts which result in people seeking therapy. On the outside, particularly for kids, they might have worried questions, or they might be pulling back and be afraid of trying new things. There are many ways of identifying OCD.
If you’re unsure if your kid has OCD or anxiety, it’s best to seek help from a licensed mental health professional who would be able to identify and assess your kid’s mental health condition. Whatever you wish to do, make sure you seek help because both OCD and anxiety can be treatment resistant.
Kids are afraid to share what their obsessions are
To reiterate and emphasize, people suffering from OCD have these uncontrollable and irrational fears and such intrusive thoughts are just too much to handle, especially for younger kids.
Kids are afraid to share what their obsessions are, because they're often very dark and scary. Instead of sharing these obsessive thoughts, they usually say things to reject engaging in a conversation with their parents or they just ignore.
Understanding is a vital part of getting your kids to talk to you about their obsessions. For some, it’s going to be a tougher task to take but we all know parenting is hard and there are many ups and downs. But remember that no matter what is going on with your kid and family, whether it's anxiety, or OCD, it's gonna be okay.
Just take one step toward a solution. Watch out for more episodes as we make parenting easier for you.
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