Managing OCD For Life

By Paula T. (parent)

“For several years we didn't know that Dan had OCD because he was symptomatic at school but not at home… We took him to doctors, who told us there was nothing wrong with him.”

Our son Dan had the "evening up" kind of OCD. When he used a three-toggle light switch, he had to click all three toggles at exactly the same time. He retraced letters that looked uneven when he wrote, and if he touched something with his right hand, he had to touch it with his left hand, too. Dan also had to "even up" conversation by silently repeating backwards everything he said and heard.

For several years we didn't know that Dan had OCD because he was symptomatic at school but not at home. Dan was having trouble in school. His teachers told us that he "seemed distracted" and "had trouble staying on task." We took him to doctors, who told us there was nothing wrong with him.

When Dan was 8 years old, we noticed Dan "evening up" while we were on vacation. When we got home, we took him to a neurologist, who diagnosed OCD. I read a library book about OCD and learned that Dan needed a cognitive behavior therapist who did "exposure and response prevention" (ERP) therapy. I found Dan's therapist through Beyond OCD .

Dan's ERP was hard work, but effective. His therapist taught us how to help him at home, and we read some terrific books about OCD written for parents and families. We also bought children's books about OCD for Dan. Our family attended OCD picnics, events, and conferences. We had fun, and met kids, teens, and adults with OCD, and we learned even more about the disorder.

Dan is now 13, and dealing with his OCD is one of the many things he does. He loves spending time with his friends, fencing, and playing the saxophone. He does well in school, and sometimes he needs to work on his OCD. Dan knows that OCD never really goes away, but with the training he received from his therapist, and refresher sessions as needed, he has the tools to manage his OCD for life.

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