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OCD/anxiety/stress and boredom, experiences please.

(9 Posts)
zzzzz Sun 28-Jul-13 11:28:34

For those of you with children with OCD or anxiety can I ask you about your children's symptoms and how they wax and wain?

My child is not diagnosed with OCD or anxiety but they are certainly part of the mix of difficulties he has. He is neurologically different anyway, but I am as always looking for ways to support him and make life a little less of an up hill battle.

Things are very changeable for us with periods of life being enormously difficult and also periods where things go much more smoothly. Much of this depends on how stressed ds is.

Reading around (as you do) my attention has been caught by some information about collie dogs who suffer from OCD/neurotic behaviour fairly regularly (my dog is a little barmy, but I am getting to the point honestly ). The suggested treatment is to proactively avoid boredom and add more mental stimulus. Collies have much higher average IQs than many other breeds and this is thought to contribute to the severity and higher incidence of the problem for them.

Looking back over the last year I can see that ds is bothered much less by things in the periods when he has been more challenged (new topics, projects, crazes). I can see that this might be because he is "having a good patch" so able to engage more, but could it also be that I can help his other issues by providing more mental challenges? Is the OCD/anxiety/stress made worse by periods of boredom? This is tricky because ds does need down time and so it would be a difficult balance.

I would be interested to hear how your children respond and whether you have noticed any change in the severity of symptoms when bored/engaged.

tacal Sun 28-Jul-13 12:01:26

Hi zzzzz, I am constantly trying to find the right balance for my ds who has ocd type behaviour and also anxiety (neither of these have been diagnosed). My ds has less ocd and anxiety if he is bored or has a good mix of activities he enjoys and also enough down time. If life gets too busy or there are new/challenging activities the ocd/anxiety will increase.

My ds is being assessed for ASD because of the ocd and anxiety issues.

zzzzz Sun 28-Jul-13 12:08:01

Interesting, so your experience is the exact opposite. Boredom helps your ds to alleviate the symptomes of OCD or anxiety. I think I have never tried to seperate "new" activities and "challengeing" activities and their effect. Ds's very worst period was his last term at school, undoubtably it was enormously challengeing for him as it was very hostile enviroment, but it was also incredibly boring in some wys as the work was inane. I wonder if I am missing a trick.

cansu Sun 28-Jul-13 15:58:41

I Am beginning to think that we need to up the amount of activity for ds who is autistic with elements of OCD and severe anxiety. Main problem with this is that he needs such a high level of supervision and also has challenging behaviour so taking him out is v stressful. I am starting to notice that the obsessive behaviour is increasing as he gets older and he is definitely bored as can't entertain himself beyond watching DVDs.

tacal Sun 28-Jul-13 17:01:45

my ds was bad during his last (final) term at nursery. I think the reasons for this were that he had to rehearse for the nursery graduation show and also visit his new school three times. He appeared to enjoy these things but because they were different the ocd and anxiety were quite bad during this time. He started doing a strange thing with his feet which his pead says looks like a little dance ds feels compelled to do. He is still doing this but overall he is much better since leaving nursery and having a more relaxed time at home. Challenging for ds is reading, writing, drawing, jigsaws and I find trying to get him to participate in these things does raise his anxiety levels. We are going away for a weekend soon and I am worried this will make his ocd type behaviour worse.

zzzzz, how is your ds when you go on holiday or if he goes to parties/events. It is the big things like this that seem to trigger my ds's ocd.

tacal Sun 28-Jul-13 17:09:01

going swimming seems to help my ds, not sure why

Interesting thread, zzzzz

zzzzz Sun 28-Jul-13 18:09:37

Swimming was undeniably brilliant when ds was younger. Mine is great with holidays/events, they are really hard work but if supported they are development accelerators for us.

If I could only arrange the world to suit him there would be no problem at all. grin

Perhaps it isn't black and white, perhaps some behaviours are related to boredom and some unavoidable. I don't think ds is doing these things to entertain himself though. I think the boredom is stressful of itself.

tacal Sun 28-Jul-13 18:49:35

I hope your ds will be ok during the holidays. My ds has been great but all that is about to change as holidays will soon be over.

cocolepew Sun 28-Jul-13 18:56:49

I've found my DD can get worse (intrusive thoughts/obsessing) during the holidays. I think she misses the structure and company of school. It's usually if she has been locking herself away in her room playing computers games or reading. She recognises this herself now (shes15) and is able to find a balance.

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