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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is treatable. Both medications and therapy or counselling are often used and are sometimes used together.

Parents may notice that their child worries sometimes. When these worries consume a child they are called  “obsessions”. These are uninvited thoughts, urges or images that repeat themselves in the child’s mind over and over again.

When children act out one of these thoughts in the same way every time it is called a ritual. The child can become stuck on this ritual and need to do it over and over again. Then it is called a “compulsion”.

When obsessions and compulsions happen over and over again they are called obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • recurrent obsessions or compulsions that interfere with a person’s life
  • take up more than one hour a day, or
  • cause marked distress or significant impairment
Common Obsessions Common Compulsions
  • fear of contamination
  • repeated doubting
  • focus on exactness and order
  • preoccupation with religious images and thoughts or fear of having blasphemous thoughts
  • fear of harming oneself or others
  • fear of blurting out obscenities in public
  • forbidden or unwanted sexual thought, images or urges
  • cleaning/washing (hands, household items, objects) too often
  • checking repeatedly
  • ordering/arranging objects in a certain order
  • hoarding
  • mental rituals


Links or Useful Resources on OCD:
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health -
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry -
Child & Parent Resource Institute - - or call 1-519-858-2774
University of Waterloo, Centre for Mental Health Research-519-888-4567 Ext. 33842 or
Children’s Mental Health Ontario - or 1-888-234-7054
Canadian Mental Health Association -
Hamilton Health Sciences -
Ontario OCD Network -
Tourette Syndrome Plus -