Please help. Anxious 6yo, hand washing etc, OCD?

(20 Posts)
Needmorechocolate Thu 07-Jan-16 18:30:32

Hi, I'm hoping someone on here may have some experience with this and be able to give some advice.

My 6yo ds (eldest of 4) has always been a bit of a worrier. When he was little he struggled a bit at nursery, constantly asking when I'd pick him up etc and he always needed to know exactly what activities were happening and in what order.

Fast forward a few years and we've had a few ongoing things with him. He still has to know exactly what's happening on each day (he will memorise 2weeks of activities in the calendar). He is quite sensitive to change/new things and when he gets worried this has often resulted in excessive trips to the toilet (at its worst asking to go at least every 20-30mins!) and a need to know where the toilets are if we go somewhere new.

Anyway, I've always put his behaviour down to him being a bit of an anxious child and it usually passes and he seems 'normal' again. However, recently I've noticed he keeps washing his hands, even when he is just watching TV/has already got in to bed he will still sometimes just go and wash his hands. The last couple of days I've also noticed that he often doesn't dry his hands after washing them so tonight I tried to ask him about it and, after a bit of probing, he said he doesn't like using the towel in case it has germs on it.

His teacher has also recently commented that he is making excessive toilet trips again and now I'm wondering if he is asking to go so he can wash his hands.

Looking back I'm also wondering how long the hand washing may have been going on for. He sometimes gets eczema and a few times over the past year he has had very sore hands/knuckles - I've always put this down to him having sensitive skin but am now wondering if it is because he is scrubbing them?

I am thinking about speaking to my GP about it but in the meantime I just wondered if anyone has had similar experiences with their children. I am not sure how to deal with it and don't want to say anything that might make things worse/encourage the behaviour etc.

Sorry for the rambling post! Thanks for reading it.


His school have commented to me that his toilet trips have increased again too.

AlanPacino Thu 07-Jan-16 18:41:02

Hi op. Before you you go to the GP it would be helpful to have a more formal chat with his teacher to see if there are any other concerns. I'd ask to see her after school one day but let her know in advance that you want to talk about any difficulties he is having at school so they have time, If necessary to jot down what they have noticed. You could also talk about what you feel his difficulties are and any strategies that help. Anxiety is often over looked in children but the right people will be able to pinpoint the cause and advise on ways to support him.

AlanPacino Thu 07-Jan-16 18:42:03

Gah, sorry about the blatant sexism re: 'see her after school' blush

Needmorechocolate Thu 07-Jan-16 19:06:53

Yes that's a good idea, thanks. I haven't been able to identify anything specific that causes his anxiety so it would be good to get her views and hopefully I'll have a clearer picture of what is going on (yes, it is a her smile)

AlanPacino Thu 07-Jan-16 19:14:53

When I said the cause I meant if there is a specific type of anxiety, be it a separation, social or a general anxiety type affair. I'm interested because ds is currently being assessed for anxiety I thought it was ADHD but they seem to think it is mainly anxiety that is causes his difficulties with concentration. I knew he was a worrier but didn't realise how profound it was until the initial assessment. We have more assessments to go. I still feel he has an underlying ADHD/add type thing but appreciate the anxiety needs to be addressed first poor chap.

AlohaMama Thu 07-Jan-16 19:16:20

Sorry to hear about yur worries with your DS. I don't have much to offer but have a friend with a DS currently undergoing diagnosis and some of the behaviours sound quite similar. I would suggest talking to medical professionals soon, on the basis that there can be long waiting lists for getting help, and if you're on the list you can always cancel if you then feel additional help is not necessary. Also worth finding out what you can about OCD in case it is that. I remember my friend saying some of the advice about helping children with OCD may be counterintuitive, sorry I can't remember the details, hopefully someone on here will be able to give better advice.

Needmorechocolate Thu 07-Jan-16 19:21:32

Ah, ok, I don't think I really even realised that there are different types of anxiety. I hope that the assessments can give you some answers for your ds.

SealSong Thu 07-Jan-16 20:51:27

Hi, I'm a child mental health practitioner. I'm not going to attempt to diagnose your DS via the internet but suffice to say he does sound very anxious and his hand washing may well relate to that.
Please do discuss this with your GP, and consider a referral via your GP to CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) for their 'Tier 2' / primary mental health service which offers support and treatment for first onset/less severe mental health difficulties in children.
These kind of problems are best dealt by the right kind of therapeutic treatment before they develop further (plus there is often a waiting list to be seen anyway). Good luck.

Needmorechocolate Thu 07-Jan-16 21:23:10

Thank you sealsong

Needmorechocolate Thu 07-Jan-16 21:29:10

Thank you **sealsong

Do you have any advice as to whether I'm best to speak with the GP with/without ds being there? Also, do you have any thoughts on what I should tell him if the GP does agree to a referral? I'm just not sure how to explain to him why he might need to go and see someone and I don't want to cause him any extra anxiety!
Thanks

AlanPacino Thu 07-Jan-16 21:37:00

Personally I wouldn't bother even physically going to the GP. Schedule a phone appt and tell them your concerns and any feedback you get from the school.

AlanPacino Thu 07-Jan-16 21:45:41

You could also Google ocd in children and use the symptoms to tally up with your dc's behaviour. From my experience GPs are more likely to sit up if you use the sort of language the profs use.

SealSong Thu 07-Jan-16 22:26:56

Usually CAMHS referrals need the child to be seen by the GP for enough information to be contained in the referral, so you do need to take him. However if you don't want your son to be present for the whole GP appointment - if you want to say anything outside of his earshot - I would think it would be ok for him to come in for part of it and go outside for part if someone else can come with you.
If you're going to seek help though at some point you need to have a chat with your son about that, and that is best done before you take him to the doctor. You can put it in simple terms however, such as 'I think you might feel worried sometimes and that means you feel you have to wash your hands a lot, and that makes your hands sore. Lets see if we can get some help to help you feel less worried, and for your hands to be less sore' kind of thing. If you give him enough info to understand but in simple enough terms it is less likely to cause him more anxiety. He may feel relieved!

AlanPacino Thu 07-Jan-16 22:51:30

Not so seal. I've got two dc with dx and 1 in the machine. Each time I got them on the road by a phone call to the GP where I outlined mine and school's concerns. I explained that I didn't want to waste the surgery's time and that I and other practitioners had enough cause to seek a referral. None of my dc's have behaviours that would be obvious enough in a 10 min appt with a GP that most likely doesn't have much expertise in such areas.

SealSong Thu 07-Jan-16 22:59:18

Alan your CAMHS service must operate in a different way than the one that I work in then (and all the other ones I've worked in). But hopefully our posts will be helpful to the OP.

Needmorechocolate Fri 08-Jan-16 01:08:22

Many thanks. I really appreciate all the advice

babypup Fri 08-Jan-16 09:21:24

Hi Needmorechocolate. I can relate and am currently gong through similar things with my 6 year old son. I posted on here just before Xmas and got lots of good responses and the thread has been continually updated. It's entitled OCD/Tics my 6 year old boy. Worth having a look if only to feel less alone. Feel free to PM me as I am right there with you at the moment! xxxx

Needmorechocolate Fri 08-Jan-16 09:47:29

Ah thanks babypup, I'll take a look at the other thread. X

babypup Fri 08-Jan-16 09:57:12

I completely understand how hard this is, I just updated my thread this morning so it's bang up to date with our journey. It's such a hard thing to deal with. We are getting the bad thoughts as well as the compulsive behaviors which is upsetting. Frequent urination here too! xx

Needmorechocolate Fri 08-Jan-16 20:09:14

Hi Babypup I've just read your thread, it sounds like you've had a tough time especially with how quickly things seems to have progressed with your ds.

I feel some relief that there are others on the thread who say how they/their dc suffered as children but things have improvedas adults.

In my case I have spoken with his teacher today. They haven't specifically noticed the hand washing but did say that the excessive toilet trips are the main issue (I wonder if this is his excuse to be able to wash his hands though). She does think he has found it difficult being back this week and doesn't seem as settled but she didn't seem overly concerned. I am just hoping that it is the stress of Christmas and the change to his normal routine that may have unsettled him and that things will improve again.

I was watching him a bit more closely after school today and, as posters on your thread mentioned, the hand washing/toilet trips did seem to increase the closer we got to bedtime. His hands are sore again today.

I'm finding it difficult to balance my two lines of thought 1) "it's just a phase and I don't want to label him with somethin/cause him more stress unnecessarily and 2) if there are underlying issues then I should be trying to address them sooner rather than later.

I think I'm going to see how things go over the next few days and then decide what to do next,

I do hope that things are going ok with your ds and that your CAMHS referral comes through soon. Xx

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