What is Different About OCD in Kids?

The symptoms of OCD are the same whether you are an adult or a child, but OCD in childhood can be more difficult to recognize for a variety of reasons.

Children may not recognize that what they are going through is out of the ordinary, and may not think to ask for help.

What's different about OCD in kids

OCD in children can easily be mistaken for behavior and attention issues such as ADHD, especially when the symptoms interfere with schoolwork. To learn more about symptoms of OCD and anxiety at school, visit our Anxiety in the Classroom resource.

Kids and teens may also be more likely to involve family members in their compulsive behaviors and rituals. For example, a child may demand that his or her family join in lengthy washing rituals around mealtimes or may refuse to go to bed until a parent joins in a checking ritual.

When OCD begins in childhood, there is also a higher likelihood of the child having other disorders as well, such as tic disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other anxiety disorders. Click here to learn more about co-occuring disorders.

Genetics may also play a larger role in OCD if it first appears earlier in childhood.