What is Teen Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatment?


Teen Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a psychological disorder in which teens experience incessant upsetting thoughts (the obsessions) that cause or trigger repetitive behaviors (the compulsions).


Teen Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatment | Paradigm Malibu


What It Looks Like


Teens with OCD perform the repetitive behaviors as an attempt to somehow counterbalance or reverse the aggravating thoughts.  Often the rituals aren’t enjoyable, and even if they provide temporary relief, cause teens to feel controlled by the rituals.


Some of the most common symptoms of those with Teen Obsessive Compulsive Disorder include, but are not limited to:


  • Obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that are unrelated to a known cause
  • Repetitive behaviors that can sometimes be inappropriate or intrusive, but over which the person has lost control
  • Incessant thoughts and behaviors concerning cleanliness, order, hoarding, or spending
  • Obsessive anxious thoughts involving sex, morality, and/or cleanliness
  • Seemingly unexplained repetitive behaviors, such as locking doors, counting, touching, or questioning


Often, teens can recognize the abnormality of their behaviors as well as their compulsive nature.  Because of this, they may try to hide the behaviors from others, in order to avoid judgment.  However, despite attempts to stop the behaviors or prevent them from disrupting their life, the disorder will often lead to disruption of healthy relationships as well as carrying out responsibilities at home or at school.


There are four subtypes of OCD, divided according to symptoms present in the person.  The four subtypes are:


1. Contamination/Washing

Characterized by teens having a constant, overwhelming sense that they’ve somehow been contaminated, and therefore, the teens make repetitive efforts to wash away the contamination.  Among this subtype, some teens don’t connect the contamination to a larger threat, while others believe that if not treated properly, they might become further infected and/or infect others.


2. Harm Obsessions/Checking

Characterized by teens constantly checking to make sure that they haven’t done something that will cause serious harm to themselves or others (for instance, locking the doors.)  The looming fear of what could happen as a result causes overwhelming anxiety.


3. Pure Obsessions

Characterized by obsessive worry connected to religious, sexual, or physical danger, which causes teens to constantly pray or sometimes count in a specific way, in order to protect themselves from the imagined harm.  This subset is also characterized by teens feeling an excessive amount of shame or guilt.


4. Hoarding

Characterized by an inability to get rid of any possessions, even those of seeming insignificance to others, and teens often will become depressed even at the thought of losing a belonging.


Teen Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatment


The shorter amount of time compulsive behaviors have gone on, the easier treatment for OCD is, because the behaviors are not as ingrained in the person.  That being said, teen obsessive compulsive disorder treatment often involves a combination of approaches that best fits the teen’s individual needs.  In general, therapy is designed to address the mental and behavioral aspects of the disorder.


To address the obsessive thoughts a teen is experiencing, therapists help them to address what the thoughts are, what fears they’re connected with, and the anxiety which those thoughts produce.  Therapists can then work with the teens to lessen that anxiety, which begins to lessen the power that the nagging thoughts have over them.  At the same time, therapists help teens to implement more healthy and controlled ways of dealing with anxiety and stress, which can help them to lessen the overall stress they’re experiencing because of the disorder.


Therapists also work with teens during teen obsessive compulsive disorder treatment to address the compulsive behaviors.  Often this includes helping teens develop other healthier habits and behaviors to perform, both to deter them from the compulsive behaviors, as well as to initiate positive effects in their lives.


In time, it’s very possible for teens to gain relief from the anxiety caused by their obsessive thoughts, and furthermore, freedom from the compulsivity of performing the repetitive actions.




Because the stress and anxiety caused from the obsessive thoughts are so overwhelming to the teens, sometimes medication is prescribed to help with these symptoms.  The goal of such medications is to provide enough relief for the teens that they can engage in therapeutic treatment and make active steps toward their recovery.





Can I ever be completely cured of OCD?


There’s not considered to be a life-long “cure” for OCD, in the sense that the obsessive thoughts completely disappear, but it’s very possible for you to live a normal, healthy life, in which the obsessions and compulsions do not interrupt or lessen the quality of your life.

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