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Is it better for a DC with OCD to get help from a doctor?

(20 Posts)
AgentZigzag Fri 10-Jun-11 13:56:39

I've had OCD from 3 YO when we moved house (or so I'm told), looking back in hindsight I think my granny had it too because we're very very similar people, so it's possibly genetic.

I've had trouble with it in the past, but now instead of fighting I've just accepted it as part of me and work around it best I can.

My 10 YO DD1 has done things for about 2/3 years that I've seen as OCD behaviour, not too bad at first, but it seems to be getting more pronounced recently.

I deliberately didn't discuss any of my rituals/bizarre looking behaviours with her so I didn't put them into her head, and also tried not to do any around her or get her to collude in them.

She does seem to do similar things though, which is a bit weird for me to see. Some unusual facial tics, counting, feeling lopsided and favouring one side of the body over the other, things like that.

A couple of years ago, because something came up at school, I reluctantly mentioned it to DDs teacher, only to have my fears confirmed that once you mention something like OCD to someone they get a stereotypical image of what it is and start labelling the person.

The first thing the teacher said was 'Oh, isn't that linked to autism?'

I know I'm not a medical professional either and I'm kind of labelling DD myself, but I feel it's different because I know what it feels like to be there, so to have a teacher making all kinds of links/assumptions about DD when all I've said is that she might possibly have OCD, makes me very nervous.

On the other hand though I've read somewhere that the earlier the medical intervention is, the better the DC is at keeping a lid on the symptoms of OCD when they're a teenager, and I also wonder whether I'd have had such a shit time of it if I'd had help when I was younger.

I would not be at all happy with any kind of chemical intervention for DD, but I have found cognitive behavioural therapy helpful in the past and wondered whether it'd be a good thing to seek out for DD.

So the crux of the matter is weighing up us/DD trying to manage her OCD alone and not making a big thing of it, or take her to the doctor and see if he can help, which carries the risk that there's no turning back from a diagnosis of OCD and DD being labelled as having mental health issues.

I just don't know.

Sorry it's got a bit long grin I've been wanting to post it for ages but didn't know how to word it, not like me grin

Thanks for reading, any advice/experiences/thoughts would be appreciated.

TotalChaos Fri 10-Jun-11 18:52:55

IME as having OCD from a child - leaving OCD unmanaged eventually carries the risk of it tipping over into depression. I crashed badly at 18. So would try and seek help - it may be she doesnt get a diagnosis of OCD anyway tbh. There can be long waiting lists for CBT on the NHS so worth getting a referral ASAP.

NanaNina Fri 10-Jun-11 19:50:45

I have learned a lot about OCD on the mh threads and it seems that like many mh issues, it can vary a lot between individuals. It's a bit of tricky one for you - as you say you don't want to get your girl labelled, she's very young isn't she for such a diagnosis, although you are the best person to recognise it. Wonder if the school would have said anything to you, had you not mentione it. As for links to autism, I think the teacher needs to read up on the issues for you think you might just talk a little to your DC about whatever it is she does, and not labelling it ads OCD. It may be that she is just copying you and isn't aware of doing anything unusual. I take the last poster's view that it is best dealt with early, but 10 is still very young for some kind of diagnosis.

Sorry I'm not sure what to think in this case - maybe some with more experience will be along soon.

madmouse Fri 10-Jun-11 19:52:36

Good friends' daughter at age 10 started to develop OC type behaviour. They went to the doctor without her and got advice from CAMHS on how to adapt their own behaviour to help her and they did so without her being aware of it. She's fine now. I know your situation is different, but I wanted to say that you can seek some help for her and figure out the lie of the land without her knowing.

Peachy Fri 10-Jun-11 19:55:09

Well yes OCD can be linked to autism (autism is my field). DS4 is being looked at for asd and has clear OCD; MIL also has it and there seems to be a link, possibly a gentic one.

But we don't know how and why and absolutely many people without autism have OCD. So unless tehre is a reason to worry (google triad of impairments if you are wondering) don;t upset yourself ove rit.

But I would absolutely get medical support as MIl was not a happy lady and her relationships all ended up crashing spectacularly. I am sure early intervention could gave helped and given her a much better life.

It's proven that early intervention in autism has maximum benefits so I guess that translates to OCD and all related disorders.

NanaNina Fri 10-Jun-11 20:12:57

I would go with Madmouse's suggestion - it could be a good first step and wouldn't prevent anything actually involving your daughter in the future. The only thing I would say that I have never been very impressed with CAMHS (they are the old Child Guidance people) though of course it will depend on the actual professional involved, and there is often a long wait, but you can get a referral from a GP as madmouse says. Could you afford to pay for a clinical psychologist (may only need one or two sessions) if they would be prepared to see you on the basis of not involving your daughter. If you can afford it you would need to find one experienced in children and OCD. You can google and on their profile it should give details of their specialism.

SomersetBelle Fri 10-Jun-11 20:22:31

I have OCD which started when I was 8. I thought I was going mad (my OCD manifests as unwanted thoughts with some ritual behaviour). I had a complete breakdown at 18, when I was diagnosed.

I wish I'd been 'outed' earlier, although like many people with OCD my behaviour wasn't exactly overt. OP you have the knowledge and insight to help your DC. In your shoes I would seek some help.

AgentZigzag Fri 10-Jun-11 20:27:37

Thanks so much for your replies, they're very helpful smile

I've tried to have a look at the link between OCD/autism, but didn't have much sucess, so thanks for the pointer peachy.

It wasn't really whether OCD is or isn't linked to autism that got me about the teacher (I know from experience that I have some parts of other anxiety 'disorders' etc, but they all mix together with the OCD an overarching umbrella) it was the fact that I could see the cogs in her mind thinking differently about DD1, which I didn't want.

She's doing extremely well at school, who are totally brilliant with her. I don't want OCD to 'excuse' her in anyway, or define her. I also know from experience that some people can use stuff like that against you.

Perhaps that's what it is, I'm actually palming off all my fears about my own experiences/OCD onto DDs situation?

Which is why I came on MN, to get a more objective point of view smile

Peachy Fri 10-Jun-11 20:42:59

Maybe you are but also maybe you are by far the best palced person to udnerstand what your child needs.

I do not have a diagnosis of AS, it didn;t exist when I was a child. Had it done, then I would have. I have enough eyars uner my belt now to not need a dx but I wish I had when I was a teen, that was when I really struggled and it certainly was part of why I fought for a dx with ds1.

And I am glad I did; years on now he needed specialist help in the end and was in the system so will get it.

Schools etc aren't that big on labelling as they used to be- SEN covers a hell of a range from dyslexia and home issues to severe quad CP. It just means. be aware, really, have knowledge. As OCD etc can affect self esteem etc that's no bad thing. And certainly a label dos not mean under performing (I know you didn;t mean that, just reassuring- ds1 is head of his school council, vice chair of house. OK so he needs a TA at the meetings, that's OK.

RedHotPokers Fri 10-Jun-11 20:53:06

Agent - do you have any info as to whether OCD is genetic or nurture?

My mum has got some mild MH issues and exhibits some OC behaviour. I also suffer from OCD, again not to a totally debilitating level (repetitive checking of gas hob/locked doors/taps and some weird counting things!!).

I have always wondered whether I started having it because my mum exhibited the behaviour or because it is genetic (I think I can pinpoint it to one particular minor event).

I am always as careful as possible to try and hide it from my DCs IYSWIM, but I know they have seen me (for example repeatedly checking the freezer door blush), and I would hate to think I will 'make' them have OCD.

Sorry to hijack thread. I'm afraid I have no advice for your DD. I have never had any professional help, and apart from the odd flare up, manage it fairly well and work round it as you say.

Deaddei Fri 10-Jun-11 21:00:38

Dd (14) has OCD which was finally diagnosed when she was 11.
She has had CBT which helped, but then CAHMS said she'd had her therapy, they couldn't do anything else.
We had private therapy, a mixture of CBT and hypnotherapy, which again helped. It gets worse before her period, as she can't cope with the mess/not being in control thing.
She used to tic furiously, but no more. Now it's anxieties about food preparation, ds being sick (he never is) and random worries which change regularly.
Now we know what it is we can deal with it, but she will always have it to some degree. I have it but cope.
I would recommend help, as it can do no harm.

hobbgoblin Fri 10-Jun-11 21:07:06

I think as an OCD sufferer myself that any help you can get to tackle it early on is a good thing.

Perhaps forget the word 'diagnosis' and replace it with 'help' or 'support' You are seeing a GP or CAMHS to get support and a diagnosis targets that support.

When you talk about your DD with friends, relatives or teachers and so on you don't need to talk about diagnosis, just refer to the things that she might need to help her feel okay.

Understanding oneself as normal with a condition that needs to be managed is a great challenge to any stigma. Not understanding oneself and one's needs and that one is normal but different makes one vulnerable to discrimination and stigmatisation surely?

Scuse bad sentence construction, but am half focusing on getting DC in bed!

Peachy Fri 10-Jun-11 21:31:36


OK so am basing this on ASD but the parallels are sound through research.

Answer is it varies.

Some people develop the spectrum disorders (and OCD is sometimes classed as that now- so is dyslexia, it's vast) spontaneously. Many people inherit a genetic tendency but even then there will need to be a trigger which sets it off.
So you will get a family like mine where all teh kids have the gene but they are all differnet in presentation and severity.

So the answer is useless I am afriad: technically you are likely to have a raised chance of developing OCD (or a related disorder, some suggest depression is included in that and also eating disorders) but no more can be said than that

lazymumofteenagesons Fri 10-Jun-11 22:52:36

DS1 was diagnosed with OCD at 18 after a near break down. He had been suffering secretly for at least 3 years and thought he had some kind of psychosis (cos of the intrusive thoughts). If I had been in your position to recognise these traits earlier he would have been in a much better position.

IMO you should seek help before it becomes too entrenched. If she gets very anxious and perform these rituals to calm herself she needs to learn other ways of dealing with it. You must know yourself how debilitating this disorder is if left to its own devices.

Unless is is affecting her life at school I don't see the need to discuss it with them. If you can afford some private CBT sessions all the better, cos I think the NHS waiting list is long.

Also she is 10 now. Trying to cope with OCD and the teenage years is extra hard. The sooner the better to start dealing with it.

AgentZigzag Sat 11-Jun-11 00:00:07

Thanks so much for posting RedHotPokers, not a hijack at all grin like peachy as I understand it, they don't know what causes OCD for sure, could have a genetic link or it could be set off by environmental factors. But people with OCD in CAT (sp) scan studies show they have different parts of their brain firing than those without, indicating there is some chemical differences in the brain for 'sufferers'.

I've never thought of how it might link to periods Deaddei, and please don't remind me she'll be a teenager soon <<scared>> grin

That's really helpful hobbgoblin, I think I see going to the doctors as medicalising DD and how she is IYSWIM?

'Understanding oneself as normal with a condition that needs to be managed is a great challenge to any stigma.'

That was how I came to an understanding with myself to stop fighting it, I started to like myself a bit more, I want DD to have that without having to go round about the houses as I did.

Yes lazymum (although I'm sure you're not by a long shot grin) I suppose I'm in a better position than my parents, who were living in a vacuum when it came to making sense of the totally bizarre behaviour they could see in me (no internet/general MH advice), although they did accept it as part of me (like you must do with your DS) which made me feel secure.

I just feel scared for DD, and maybe a bit guilty that I've foisted it on her, even though I'd rather see her go through it and be there for her than not have her at all (I'm thinking of a thread I was on questioning whether you should deliberately have a child knowing you might pass on your MH issues to them).

I'd choose to have her every time, but still feel guilty at the same time, if that makes sense?

I'm so glad I got my act together to post, thank you smile Sorry it's got long again (<<ahem>> g n t grin)

AgentZigzag Sat 11-Jun-11 00:07:06

Hehe, this is cathartic grin

The other thing I thought of, is that I looked at some websites on what the current advice was to try and deal with OCD, and I noticed a lot of it was trying to get the DC to see the OCD as a bully telling them what to do.

This really worried me because of what I just said to hobbgoblin about accepting it as part of me, and I don't want the help DD receives to teach her not to like a bit of herself, that she should reject something she has no control over and has a possible biological root.

Sorry...sorry blush I don't normally go on this much.

SomersetBelle Sat 11-Jun-11 11:23:37

Agree with you totally. I only really turned a corner when I accepted the intrusive thoughts, rather than fighting them and dreading them (like you would a bully).
But this was a HUGE step for me, as somewhere in my head I thought if you accept the thoughts you want them.

And when I accepted them they really did start to reduce in frequency and intensity.

I'm no expert though.

Good luck, and btw you sound like a lovely parent.

SomersetBelle Sat 11-Jun-11 11:28:13

Oh and please don't feel guilty. I remember my mum getting very down and talking about psychodynamics in our family and early years experiences and genetics etc etc as a cause, when it really doesn't matter.

lazymumofteenagesons Sat 11-Jun-11 12:54:20

I found the website very helpful it also has a forum with a section for families/carers of people with OCD.
Don't feel guilty. I have suffered from various anxiety issues in the past and was devastated when this trait appeared in my son and worse than I ever suffered. But it does not help him if I feel guilty. I also have wasted many hours going through what may have happened in his childhood to trigger this, especially when it came down to choice of schools. A complete waste of time and of no help to anyone.

hobbgoblin Sat 11-Jun-11 14:43:25

I think OCD is about control - the mind's attempt to exert control over things when actually the OCd in turn controls us! - and that finding ways to empower oneself or one's child can be very valuable in stopping or reducing the compulsions.

For me, I do believe I felt afraid of the world I was in as a child, and not because any bad stuff was happening - just because I am an intuitive and sensitive sort of person which is great but does lead to over worrying. My point being that it doesn't matter how parents choose schools, manage sibling relationships, etc. etc; if you are the stype of person who is sensorily sensitive then the desire for behaviours that appear to offer control back becomes consuming. Hence the OCD

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