Orange County Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Alejandra Suzuki, MD, FAPA
Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist located in Irvine, CA
Everyone obsesses over certain things, but some people have a cycle of obsessions that is so extreme and consuming that it begins to affect the quality of their lives. These people have obsessive compulsive disorder, which affects 1 in every 100 children in America. At Orange County Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Irvine, California, Alejandra Suzuki, MD, FAPA, has experience identifying and diagnosing OCD and offers a variety of evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatments to help manage your child's compulsions. To learn more, call the office or use the online scheduling tool to make a telehealth appointment.
What is obsessive compulsive disorder?
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder in which you can’t stop recurring, unwanted thoughts or urges (obsessions) that drive you to do something repetitively (compulsions) in order to get rid of your obsessive thought.
What are the symptoms of OCD?
Individuals without OCD may deal with intrusive thoughts from time to time, but they’re able to move on from it quickly. People with OCD, however, have these intrusive thoughts more frequently, become obsessed, and can’t move past them.
Some common obsessions for children with OCD are:
- Contamination from germs or disease
- Fear of losing control of their actions
- Fear of harming others through personal carelessness
- Excessive concern with morality
- Superstitious ideas about lucky numbers or colors
These thoughts become so intense that they trigger extreme anxiety, which prompts you to carry out certain repetitive behaviors that neutralize the effect of the obsessive thoughts in your mind. Some examples of common compulsions in children with OCD are:
- Obsessive washing and cleaning
- Checking things continuously
- Repeating actions, movements, or activities
- Arranging items until they “feel right”
- Mentally counting to end on the “right” number
Everybody gets obsessed with certain thoughts or things at some point in their lives. But children with this disorder become consumed by their thoughts and compulsions to the point where their relationships and schooling start to become affected.
What treatments do you offer for OCD?
There’s no absolute cure for OCD, but Dr. Suzuki works with children to develop coping strategies to get their symptoms under control.
She performs physical and psychological tests to determine whether your child has OCD and how severe their case is. Based on their individual needs, Dr. Suzuk devises a treatment plan that uses one or more of the following types of evidence-based talk therapies:
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective methods of treating OCD. Dr. Suzuki uses this therapy to change the patterns behind your child's thinking, so they can change their behaviors.
A specific type of CBT called exposure and response prevention (ERP) is particularly effective in making these changes. ERP slowly exposes your child to the object of their obsession or fear and teaches them healthier ways to cope with their anxiety around the obsession and manage the resulting compulsive behaviors.
This kind of therapy requires patience and time, but with some effort, your child can learn to overcome the thoughts and behaviors that are affecting their everyday life.
Dialectical behavior therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy is used for patients with OCD to improve self-control and reduce feelings of hopelessness felt by many patients with OCD.
To learn more about the treatments that Dr. Suzuki offers for OCD, call Orange County Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, or schedule a consultation online today.