OCD or obsessive-compulsive behavior is a neurobiological disorder – this means it has to do with the way the brain functions. Scientists have found that certain areas of the brain work differently in people who have OCD compared to those who don͛t. Teens struggling with OCD, have to realize that they are not “crazy.” You didn’t do anything to cause OCD and you are not alone. In the mind of someone with OCD, rituals prevent something bad from happening. To be diagnosed as OCD, these behaviors must be time-consuming and interfere with the person͛s daily life. As with many other mental disorder, OCD is usually related to low serotonin levels which may be due to genetic factors, as OCD seems to run in the family. OCD can also surface from environmental factors.
OCD thinking and behavior centers around ‘obsessions’. Fears, worries and negative thoughts often pop into your head and just don’t go away. OCD causes a very high degree of anxiety, as someone with OCD is aware that his or her obsessions are irrational and inappropriate, but they are unable to stop or control them. Obsessions are usually thoughts, which lead to compulsions that manifest in behaviors. Some examples are – obsessive hand washing, number counting or switching lights on and off. These obsessions can be debilitating for teens struggling with OCD and affect their lives on a day to day basis.
These rituals are also called ‘compulsions’. You may feel better for a short while, but these compulsions always come back. Researchers have found that many people with OCD have above-average intelligence. This condition does not affect any one type of person – all ages, sexes, races and ethnicities can be affected.
While traditional therapy looks back on the past, CBT therapy gives patients the tools to manage their lives in the present. CBT is useful for a wide range of disorders and has proven to be highly effective. According to psychology.com, the focus is on problem-solving, and the goal is to change clients͛ thought patterns in order to change their response to difficult situations. This form of therapy is therefore hugely important for people with OCD, as it helps to neutralize obsessive and ritualistic behaviors & regulates emotions and behaviors related to their condition.
Often, family and friends are unsure of how to help teens with OCD. Ultimately, it is up to you to use your CBT tools in everyday life. CBT involves not only therapy but homework assignments. OCD can be overwhelming, especially for teens already overwhelmed by stress –but realize that it͛s not YOU –it͛s a real, medical condition.