Feature Article

Obsessive compulsive disorder in children and adolescents

Feature Article

Obsessive compulsive disorder in children and adolescents

IAIN E. PERKES, LARA J. FARRELL, LEIGH GUY, Valsamma Eapen

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© andrey popv/stock.adobe.com
© andrey popv/stock.adobe.com

Abstract

GPs are uniquely placed to detect and begin management – including exposure and response prevention therapy – of obsessive compulsive disorder in young people, guided by validated self-report measures and with the aim of achieving sustained remission.

Key Points

  • It is estimated that one in 50 children or adolescents has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Self-reported screening aids detection of OCD, and self-reported measurements of symptom severity enable treatment monitoring.
  • Evidence-based treatments, especially the first-line treatment of exposure and response prevention (ERP), have large effect sizes.
  • Family-based therapy may be needed to treat family accommodation of OCD symptoms (i.e. facilitating or participating in a child’s symptoms).
  • Pharmacotherapy is typically indicated when symptoms persist despite the use of ERP.
  • Sustained remission is the goal of treatment.