Teen Anxiety and OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on May 01, 2014

If anyone tells you their teenage years were anxiety-free, chances are their memory is less than perfect. The years between 12 and 20 are often so filled with angst and self-doubt that being miserable is almost a rite of passage. But does teenage anxiety lead to a predisposition toward obsessive and compulsive behavior? Fortunately, it does not. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a neurobiological disorder caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Without it, OCD doesn’t exist. While many teenagers and younger children will have rituals and superstitions, they generally outgrow them. The time to be concerned is when those behaviors
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Back to School

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Sep 01, 2013

by Janet Singer   Last year at this time I wrote a post about Taking OCD to College. It focused on establishing a good support system for OCD sufferers who are embarking on this exciting, but often anxiety-provoking journey. I discussed how important communication is with all school personnel, from the Dean of Students to teachers. The more support the better. But what happens when the support you deserve, and are entitled to, is not afforded you? What if one of your teachers thinks OCD is no big deal, or not a real illness? How do you deal with a
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OCD and Teen’s Privacy

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Aug 01, 2013

by Janet Singer   When my son Dan diagnosed himself with OCD at the age of seventeen, he came to me and my husband for help. We brought him to our local pediatrician who confirmed the diagnosis and referred him to a local therapist (who we later found out knew nothing about treating OCD, but that story is for a different post). Dan never shared details of his OCD with us. We knew little to nothing about his obsessions, and because the majority of his compulsions were mental, we knew almost nothing about them either. As I began to educate
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Getting Help for Our Children

Posted by Phil Cardenas on May 06, 2013

by Janet Singer   I follow a lot of blogs written by OCD sufferers. I find them interesting and educational, and they often provide me with a firsthand glimpse into the world of someone who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. As a parent of an OCD sufferer, I am particularly drawn to posts that deal with family matters. These blogs are written by adults of all ages, and many of them acknowledge having had OCD since they were children. They wonder, sometimes bitterly, why their parents didn’t seek out help once they realized something was wrong. Even if they
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College Stress Can Worsen OCD Symptoms

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Apr 26, 2013

Stress is a major trigger for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms and few events in a young person’s path to adulthood are more stressful than going off to college. Fortunately, there are things an OCD-suffering teen can do to help minimize, or even eliminate, its effects. Anticipating OCD triggers is a good first step. At the minimum, college presents a whole new set of challenges, even if the student lives at home. The familiar routine of going to school and returning at the same set time each day is gone. The safety net of a school administration that
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Recognizing OCD in Your Child

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Apr 16, 2013

Kids can be downright confusing. Trying to make sense out of their behaviors can test even the most patient and understanding parents. When does the fear of the monster under the bed or worrying that daddy is never coming back go from normal childhood anxiety to a serious problem.  If obsessions and compulsions begin to interfere with your child’s functioning in relationships with their family, friends, or schooling, they may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). About one child in 100 develops OCD. Their brains process information differently from other children, resulting in uncontrollable worries and doubts (obsessions) that
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What’s a Parent To Do?

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Feb 01, 2013

by Janet Singer   Enabling OCD adds fuel to the fire Being a parent is hard. We all want what’s best for our children, and we want them to be happy. Sometimes these two basic truths collide. Our three-year-old wants a toy she sees in the store. She already has too many toys, and needs to learn she can’t have everything she wants. We know the right thing to do is say, “No.” So we do, and of course a tantrum follows, but soon everything returns to normal. We did what was best for
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OCD and Uncertainty…for Everyone

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Nov 01, 2012

by Janet Singer   “The doubting disease” and the ironic quest for control As many of you might already know, obsessive-compulsive disorder is often referred to as “the doubting disease.”  This is because doubt and uncertainty fuel the fire for OCD, as sufferers feel the need to have total control over everything in their lives; to be certain that everyone and everything are okay. While it is human nature to seek answers, those with OCD take it too far. They are obsessed with being certain; certain that everything looks right, or is completely safe, or
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Teens and OCD

Posted by Phil Cardenas on Oct 01, 2012

by Janet Singer   “Normal” teen behavior might be anything but I think we can all agree that once a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder is made, it is important to get the right help as soon as possible. A therapist who specializes in treating the disorder using Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) Therapy is the way to go. The path to follow is clear. But what is not always clear is whether or not you or a loved one even has OCD. In particular, if you are the parent of a teenager, it may be hard to distinguish &ldquo
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