Dealing with our child’s anxiety or OCD is taxing enough, but sometimes there is another layer of stress. Often our child’s struggles can trigger something deep within us. A childhood wound, a flashback, a remnant of something that has remained dormant within us.
OCD is very convincing. It convinces our kids that there is a threat. It convinces them that they need to take action. It convinces them that they have full control.
OCD is an octopus with sticky tentacles. Those tentacles can glom onto almost anything. They can watch, hear, or observe anything that can, in return, become a new OCD theme. The issue isn’t what they hear or watch, the issue is how big and sticky the tentacles are. The goal is to build skills and knowledge to shrink the octopus and part of that is learning all about OCD.
OCD loves to hang out with other issues. There are many comorbid conditions that go with OCD. Misophonia and Misokinesia are two of them. Does your child feel rage over certain sounds, including mouth and nose sounds? Does your child get overwhelmed by certain motions, like a foot tapping or knee bouncing? Those are common struggles people with Misophonia and Misokinesia experience.
In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I talk about the interconnected relationship between Misophonia, Misokinesia and OCD.
Ben was always an anxious child, but behind that anxiety lurked something else. It took a stay in a treatment center for eating disorders and eight therapists to finally get the help he truly needed, with the diagnosis he actually had – OCD. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast, Ben walks us through his journey with OCD, from his inability to share his intrusive thoughts, to his unrelenting search to find an effective therapist trained in OCD. Ben is determined to be a part of the effort to remove the stigma attached to OCD, especially for men who all too often do not find help and strength complimentary words.
Getting relief from OCD is not rocket science. OCD is driven by intrusive thoughts that make our kids want to do compulsions. These compulsions can be mental, physical or even just avoidance. The more they do these compulsions, the more their discomfort grows, the more intrusive thoughts they have. OCD is predictable in that way. No matter what thoughts or OCD themes they have, this pattern exists. The only way to break out of this pattern is to have them see the illusions OCD is feeding them and disrupt the pattern that OCD wants them to follow.
OCD can make our kids do a ton of nonsensical things, including touching or tapping objects or people. This can happen due to all sorts of OCD intrusive thoughts. Perhaps something bad will happen if they don’t touch it. Maybe OCD says it won’t feel right until they do? Regardless of why OCD is demanding them to do it, how do they stop it? It comes down to how they would handle any OCD compulsion. OCD wants to be fed. It is an itch that wants to be scratched. The reality is, the more you scratch it, the more it itches. It is a vicious cycle that offers no long term relief. In this week’s YouTube video for kids and teens we talk about how to handle touching or tapping compulsions. Remember all compulsions can be handled in this same way.
It is helpful to understand the many different disguises OCD can wear. When we understand how OCD can show up, we can nip it in the bud more often. Relationship OCD is often talked about in an adult context, but it impacts kids and teens as well. I invited Kristina Orlova, an anxiety and OCD therapist and creator of OCD Academy, to come onto the AT Parenting Survival Podcast to help us understand ROCD better.
Working on OCD is like pulling weeds. Our kids are slowly taking their garden back by eliminating one OCD compulsion at a time (or several at a time!). The less they do compulsions, the weaker OCD becomes. But what if they let some new compulsions grow some early roots? What if they focus so hard on the weeds in front of them, they miss the new weeds starting to form in the distance? What if they want people to see a clean garden, so they hide the new weeds to everyone but themselves? In this week’s Youtube video I talk to kids and teens about the importance of pulling out those small OCD weeds and preventing any new OCD compulsions from ever taking root.
OCD comes in many disguises. OCD is OCD and it is treated as such, but it can be easy to miss new intrusive thoughts and compulsions. That is because OCD can morph and present in a completely different way. The best way to approach OCD is to educate ourselves and our kids in the many ways it can show up. It can help to learn about other OCD experiences and common OCD intrusive thoughts and compulsions. When you do this, you and your child will be able to catch new OCD struggles before it can grow big roots. Then you’ll approach it the same way you do with any other OCD theme using ERP, Exposure Response Prevention.
Helping Kids Understand OCD Distraction vs Refocusing This video is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the guidance of a qualified professional. When your child is bombarded with OCD intrusive thoughts they might be on the hamster wheel of distraction. In fact it is the most common way to get relief from OCD intrusive thoughts. Unfortunately, this avoidance only grows OCD […]
OCD and Eating Disorders are often comorbid conditions, but beyond that, OCD can cause disordered eating. Many OCD issues including Emetophobia, Moral OCD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Orthorexia, PANDAS/PANS and ARFID can impact our kids ability to eat. In this week’s AT Parenting Survival Podcast I explore the various OCD issues that can overlap Eating Disorders and some that can be incorrectly diagnosed and treated as only an Eating Disorder.
There is a difference between OCD coping strategies and OCD treatment strategies. When we talk about OCD treatment we are focusing on ERP, Exposure Response Prevention, a type of CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy. In order to get relief from OCD we tell kids to lean in and often do the opposite of what OCD compulsions want them to do. But what do they do to cope with the stress, anxiety and overwhelm OCD typically brings with it? What do they do when OCD symptoms are taking a toll? In this week’s YouTube video I talk to kids and teens about the difference between OCD coping strategies and OCD treatments and how to do both.
Shaun Flores was only a couple of years into his own struggle with OCD when he became an OCD advocate. He quickly became a stronger messenger of hope through his OCD awareness work. Recently I had Shaun back on the AT Parenting Survival podcast to discuss how his OCD recovery is going, what he does to maintain progress and how the perception of recovery can be part of a bigger issue.