Can anyone tell me what OCD looks like in a 5 year old?

Heather - posted on 01/04/2009 ( 33 moms have responded )

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Our son has the possible diagnosis of ADHD and OCD. He is a very bright boy and sometimes I wonder if the behaviors that I see are from boredom, attention seeking, or just typical boy behaviors. My intuition is to say not. It would be helpful if I had another mom to talk to with a similiar situation. Thanks, Heather

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Joshlynn - posted on 11/26/2013

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my son is 12 and has ocd I remember him always walking behind me regardless of how much I rush him. He had to count the lines in floor tiles. He was always dusting his seat before he took a seat. He only used the bathroom no one else used. He was so hung up about fair and unfair. He could not move on once he had decided something was unfair. If it happened in the morning he was still talking about it in the afternoon or evening. He what bring it up days later to defend or make a point. This was going on at at 6. He quit basketball because he bumped up against other sweaty players during the game. He was diagnosed at 10. Mainly because he worsened though the years. He had a hard time functioning. Every thing just all added up.all at once for me. I knew something was not right I just didn't know what. He is coping and learning to manage.He is currently being treated.and I am noticing improvements.

Lisa - posted on 01/28/2009

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Heather,

I can totally relate. My daughter is 12 now and I started noticing OCD symptoms around 4 or 5 but it took awhile before it was diagnosed. The first therapist even said it was because I was a working mom. Can you imagine?

I pulled away from a lot of friends and family because they just didn't understand and their well-meaning advice just made me feel like I must be a bad mom.

My daughter is just as all of you have described - super intelligent, strong-willed, tantrums but other times as sweet as can be. Especially around other people.

I can tell you we now pretty much have the OCD under control. She is on Zoloft but what really helped is that we took her to an intensive treatment program that specialized in exposure response therapy. It was at the Anxiety Treatment Center of Sacramento (CA). Dr. Robin Zasio there is amazing.

So, that is the good news. The bad news is that my daughter is still very strong-willed and now we are adding hormones into the mix. The strong-willed is just part of her personality and I don't think there is anything I can do to change it. She can also be manipulative.

Wishing you the best.

Lisa

Peggy - posted on 05/13/2009

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Anne--

Thanks for your good wishes for my daughter. I was thinking--I should have told you about the book that my daughter's therapist recommended that I have found to be SO helpful. It explains things in plain english and gives parents lots of tips and tools to help them help their kids deal with OCD. The book is called "Freeing Your Child From Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder" and it was written by Dr. Tamar E. Chansky. If you have a good library, it'll probably be there but I actually bought my own copy so that I could continue to refer to it as I needed to. It even has a chapter on dealing with a parent's OCD tendencies so it might help you recognize if that really is the case with you. In the early days/weeks of my daughter's diagnosis, I referred to this book daily and it was a big help in learning to sort out which behaviors were probably OCD and which were not and how best to respond to each. I think the scariest part for me as a parent was knowing that there was something painful going on for my child and I didn't know how to help. I was so worried that I would do something to make her feel worse and she was so miserable already! This book was a huge help to me in reassuring me that I COULD help, and that in itself was a comfort. Okay, I've raved enough! If I think of anything else, I'll post again. In the meantime--take a deep breath and remember, this is a very treatable condition. You and your son can survive this and thrive again!

Anne - posted on 05/13/2009

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Peggy, thank you so much for your encouraging words. After I posted my earlier note, I finally managed to get the word out to extended family via e-mail. I cc'd my husband on it, worrying a bit that he might not have wanted me to broadcast this "news", but he was okay with it, and possibly even more on-board now, so that's a relief. Again, thank you for writing, and best of luck with your daughter's continuing progress.

Johnna - posted on 01/27/2009

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Alex is 6 1/2. Today was awful b/c it was his brother's birthday. Cristian was getting phone calls and little gifts all day long. it is so sad when I can see the differences in them so clearly. Cristian shared everything today with Alex without so much as a blink (I didn't ask him to either-he is only 5) but Alex would never consider doing the same. It always seems to be all about him. Sometimes I get a little resentful and then feel so guilty for feeling that way.

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Randi - posted on 09/04/2013

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My 5 yr old grand daughter is showing signs of OCD. Recently she has started pulling all her eye lashes out. I feel so bad for my daughter! We don't know how to help her.

Sandee - posted on 11/23/2012

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I m concerned about my granddaughter, her mother (my daughter) is also concerned. Last night at thanksgiving she was sitting in a room with about 20 adults, and she said "there are too many people, it scares me), she took her plate and went into another room and then proceeded to play with her cousins. She has disturbing thoughts, she has imaginary friends that are always having bad things happen to them. She sometimes tells her mother they make her do bad things. She is sweet and bright but she has alot of anxiety for a 5 year old. She is now going to someone to talk about the "Bad People" in her life. She has not been diagnosed with OCD but as a laymen, it sounds like she has alot of those characteristics. What can we do to help her and what can I do for my daughter, she is so worried.

BettyJean - posted on 10/09/2012

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Hello Everyone,



I am having such a hard time in life right now, I am a 34 year old mother of 5 and one on the way and am raising my children basically alone. My 5 year old boy in the past few weeks has been showing extreme signs of OCD. He has been such a loving, caring , responsible child and lately he will not touch any food products with his hands at all and will not open doors with his hands, gives me a hard time about washing his face with water saying te water is dirty and with his hands he says they are constantly dirty. He has had a lot of changes in the past few months and I don't know what to do I am running off of no sleep and I catch myself yelling a lot and I know that this response is not the right response to a child that doesn't understand why they feel and act the way they do. I need help PLEASE........



CONCERNED mom Betty

Sieglinde - posted on 09/25/2012

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Hi Heather ... I just joined and my son is 11. I noticed him started OCD habits at the age of 10, however, looking back I see that he may have started OCD earlier than 10. The first was retracing his steps, or had to start off on a certain foot.

Danielle - posted on 04/26/2012

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@ Ashley, speak to your pediatrician about it first. Also, look into your health insurance to see what's covered & how. My husband's in a Union, & with our insurance, mental health issues are treated differently than other health issues. When getting treatment for my now 8 yr old son, I needed to call the mental health member services & get a referral for a therapist/psychologist from them.

I explained to my ped why I thought my ds had OCD & she agreed that my concerns may be valid. And when I called the mental health member services, I had to explain why I was concerned that my 6 yr old had OCD & that my ped agreed. I actually didn't stay with the 1st psychiatrist that was recommended or the 2nd therapist that we tried. We are currently on a break & will test out a new therapist in June, after school & activities are on a break.

I don't know how much help this is, but know that there are plenty of other parents out there dealing with the same things. Also, I have found a group on yahoo groups that I've found very helpful (ocdandparenting), you need to be approved to become a member, but I have found it very helpful.

Ashley - posted on 04/03/2012

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I have a history of anxiety, depression, and OCD. Just recently my 5yr old daughter has started showing signs of it as well and i'm not sure how to go about getting an actual diagnosis. Among other things, when she is laying in bed she says, "excuse me", over and over again, even when there is no need for it. I have mentioned it to her so now when she knows im listening she just goes under the covers or mumbles it under her breath. Im not sure what is causing this or what I can do to help it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

Gabrielle - posted on 04/29/2010

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Hi all. I want to say first of all that these stories have made me feel a little better about my situation, so thank you all.
I am a single mother who has suffered severe anxiety/panic disorder along with bouts of obsessive behavior. It is in my family from, as far as I know, back to my mothers mother.
I have been seeing things in my daughter since she was around 3, that, thank goodness have since passed. However, she has recently gotten obsessive about a couple of numbers and now says "bye" to EVERYTHING. She says it all day long and says it while doing anything and everything. At first it was only whe she was doing something for the last time. i.e. took a dring or took the last bite of food. Now it is ALL the time. I cannot tell at this point if has become a habit or not. She says she feels like she HAS to say it, but she hides it and is embarrassed about it, she says she thinks its wierd.
My issue
now is that I feel so bad for her. I would absolutely hate if she, at 6 years old, was feeling at all like I had felt with anxiety. It makes me so sad.
She has gone to a therespist once and has weekly visits set up for the next couple months. I am going to try to avoid meds at all costs.
Can someone please give me some advice about how to talk to her about it? I have been telling her that its not wierd, shes NOT wierd and that she doesnt need to stop saying "bye" at all if thats what makes her feel better. i just feel terrible and am so glad to see that I am not alone.
Thank you all for sharing.

Mandy - posted on 02/01/2010

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I wish i would of found this web site along time ago, my son is now 13 and was finally diagnosed with OCD in jan 2009 after may bouts with threatning suicide and hurting himself, i was told hes a boy and that he has ADD, his whole life he was always a good child, but very quite and no imagination, never played with toys, never ran, and then he started havin fustrations that we thought were just problems with his delayed speech has as well, he would bang his head, cry all the time, very short fused. He was finally refered to a Dr who works with OCD kids and spoted him within 5 min. Hes a picky eater, refuses to have food touch, has rituals, also obssessions with video games, and etc. His new rital is showers, he takes them about the same time everyday, about 3 a day. Has the leg shaking, had the picking of the face, and messed with the collar of his shirt when thinking, since he went on meds, Resipdone and Zoloft, he has stoped the suicide thoughts, the anger is gone, well while on meds. And he was failing class, since meds he was on Horor roll all of 2009, and this year was finally able to get out of special ed resource classes, and is doing remarkable. Patience is all i can say, listen to ur child research OCD, it is genetic and i have it as well, as well as certain members of the family that were clearly overlooked. My son is copin, but its still hard and the dr adjusts his meds to get the right dosage. They say when the kids r young it looks like ADD/ADHD, thats y kids r misdiagnosed for years till they get older. I hope all moms, have all they need. Any questions go ahead and ask..i am still learning as well

Autumn - posted on 01/16/2010

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My daughters had it since she was very young. Her symptoms changed from handwashing to having to keep toys in a bag to being afraid of her hair falling out. One big sign that my daughter has had and kept is her constant questioning. Same thing over and over for months and even years.

Peggy - posted on 05/13/2009

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Hang in there, Anne. My daughter (age 10) was diagnosed just this January and I remember how overwhelming it was. She too was not eating or drinking enough because she couldn't/wouldn't use the bathroom more than twice a day. I would guess it's not the meds, it's the stress that has changed your boy's nature. The good news is that he'll be himself again--even on the meds--once he has learned some skills for dealing with the OCD. High doses of meds are scary--my daughter is on Prozac also but now that we have gradually built up the dose to an effective level the improvement is amazing. She feels so much better, more in control, calmer. She smiles again. And that is beautiful to see. It is a long road but you WILL see improvement. Don't worry about telling the rest of the family--they don't need to know until you're ready to tell them. And I'm so glad you found this site now. I just found it this week and I sure could have used it five months ago!

Anne - posted on 05/13/2009

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My 9 year old was just diagnosed w/OCD on Monday, after being home from a week in the hospital's Childrens' Crisis Intervention unit, where they diagnosed him with Major Childhood Depression because he suddenly went from omnivore to vegetarian, to vegan, then to refusing to eat at all because: a) the rest of the family didn't want to go vegan along with him, and b) he feels he HAS to have the new Nintendo DSi, after he just got the Nintendo DS for Christmas. The psychiatrist has doubled the amount of Prozac the hospital started him on b/cuz he said the dose for depression is not strong enough to handle OCD. Is it the drugs that have made this otherwise sweet and affectionate, very intelligent child scarily angry/hostile/defiant? I am SO drained by this that I haven't been able to pass this news along to my extended family yet. I am also guilty of being a hoarder of papers and other stuff that I can't part with. This seems to be a related trait? I am SO GLAD to have found this forum because I know I am going to need the strength to deal with people who don't understand this.

Heather - posted on 01/31/2009

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Lisa,
Thanks I looked up the center's web page and I am going to call them on Monday or so. My five year old went to the ER last week for severe abdominal pain and we discovered that he has a fatty tumor in his intestines. So we are doing a repeat CT scan on monday and then following up with his GI dr. I would love to chat sometime, I'll look up your info. ~Heather

Heather - posted on 01/31/2009

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Johna,
No problem and I agree that it is nice to have a place to vent now and then.

Lisa - posted on 01/30/2009

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Heather,

The Anxiety Treatment Center does regular seminars where you can find out more about treatment options. Check out their website and I'd be happy to talk to you live if you have any questions.

Lisa

Johnna - posted on 01/30/2009

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Thanks Heather--We do belive in prayer and thanks for the hugs--it is so nice to have a nonjudgemental sounding board. There are very few of those around. :)

Heather - posted on 01/29/2009

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Johnna,
I can understand about husbands not being on the same page. It is especially hard when you may be the primary caretaker and home with the kids all day while daddy is at work. My husband and I are still at odds about our son taking some ADHD meds. I have seen a dramatic difference in his behaviors as far as being able to better control his impulses. His OCD tendencies come and go and I'm not so sure that these meds are designed to help this. I have definitely done my homework about the med and have assured my husband that I have only our son's best interest in mind and that I don't want his self esteem to be affected by his inability to control his emotions or impulses or behaviors. We actually have sought some counseling and I am hoping with time that he will see the difference that I see and understand. I don't know if you believe in Prayer, but I think as a mom it is the best thing we can do. Hugs to you~Heather

Johnna - posted on 01/29/2009

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Well now that I am trying to get everything all figured out, my husband is starting to doubt what the dr said. He doesn't want to do anything about something that Alex "will jus grow out of" How can I make him understand that Alex has been acting this way for 6 years now. He isn't going to grow out of it! Frustrating! The medication is scaring him I know but we need to step back and do the right thing for Alex.

Heather - posted on 01/29/2009

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Thanks Lisa for sharing about Dr. Zasio. I live in the Sacramento area and I will try to look into her. Johnna, I too can understand being confused and feeling that somedays maybe this is just typical boy behavior and that my expectations are not right. Then I share with other parents and spend time with them and there kids and realize maybe my inclinations are valid. I never want to break the spirit of my child. I just need help now in how do I trod through everyday and help shape him to become the world changer that I know he can be and has been created to be. I mean really, do we all have to conform to the rigidities of this world? I'd like to think that we can think outside the box and into the grey areas (esp. as mother's of special needs children), and that the true leaders of this world are those who chose to rise above and were made just a little different from the rest. I mean look at Einstein for example, he is highly revered and is said to have had ADHD. But he was also known for being a little quirky. I guess you can see my point. I don't want to break my child's spirit, just embrace and shape it. This "Mom" job is so hard. ~Heather

Johnna - posted on 01/28/2009

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Today-Alex was awesome--makes me wonder if he is the same child that yesterday had at least 4 huge fits (seizure like-he gets rigid and shakes and cries uncontrollably). Today-nothing but calm, cool, and sweetness. Helping out around the house without beng asked. Cuddling up with me on the couch--It is no wonder I am so confused about how to deal with him!

Heather - posted on 01/28/2009

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I agree. It is comforting to know that I am not alone and not CRAZY. Sometimes I feel like the dr's or my friends who don't understand or know what it's like to live a day in my world think I am not trying hard enough, or to lax on my discipline and follow through. It really hurts and I feel so isolated some days. Everyone always has well intentioned advice too. If only they had a taste of a tantrum/melt down that happens in the car ride home from school (when my son) over seeing a speed limit sign becomes worked up over the thought that I am not driving the speed limit (because I happen to be at a red light and in lots of traffic after). If only. ~Heather

Heather - posted on 01/27/2009

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Johnna,
Thanks for sharing. It brings me comfort to know that I am not alone. I'm not sure I even know normal, except for what I see with my friends kids. My five year old has a Dx of ADHD and OCD. I also have a 3 year old with a Dx of Down syndrome. Our house is always an adventure. I love my boys to pieces but struggle some days. My five year has always been my very strong willed child from the moment he was born. He also has always had a few lil' sensory quirks. Such as we had to swaddle him every night to calm into sleep past 1 year of age. He can be very demanding, bossy, and rude and in on the other hand can be very sensitive, loving, cuddly, and funny. He is also a very bright boy, so I too struggle with if he sometimes he is just manipulating me. I always struggle with mom guilt thinking is there something I have done wrong to make him this way. Did I model bad behavior when got upset at him finally after his 10th tantrum of the day. I just keep seeking more and more answers/wisdom and trying everything possible to make my boys achieve there personal bests in life. But I know in my heart that they were born for greatness I just have to learn how to shape, mold, and harness it now to help them be successful later. I hope to chat more. ~Heather

Heather - posted on 01/27/2009

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Johnna,
I can totally understand that feeling. How old is your son who received the Dx? Look at the book that Brenda suggested in this response. I haven't bought it yet, but hoping that it can bring me some answers. Today was definitely a quirky day for my big man. Everything was bothering him so he was demanding about everything. As if there was some emergency or fire. ~Heather

Johnna - posted on 01/27/2009

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We got an OCD dx today and prozac prescription. I often wonder if the behavior is manipulative in nature, but the dr. says no. It is so stressful and others often shrug it off and act like I am exaggerating.

Heather - posted on 01/26/2009

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Thank you everyone for your kind words and suggestions into what OCD looks like in a five year old. I will definitely look into that book. We moms have to stick together. There is a lot to be said about a mother's wisdom and intuition. Thanks, Heather

Samantha - posted on 01/23/2009

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hi......i have 7 children.......3 diagnosed with ocd........1 with ocd /tourettes.i started to notice things with them when they was about 3. diagnosed at 5. i thought t same at 1st.boredom or that i was not paying enough attention...i would love to chat further with you....and if you have any questions please get in touch kind regards samantha x

Miranda - posted on 01/15/2009

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I am awaiting an assesment for my 5 year old for PANDAS OCD has anyone experienced this? Any advice would be helpful!

Christen - posted on 01/04/2009

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Heather - hello - my daughter was diagnosed with OCD when she was 5 and I had the same questions! The book that Brenda suggested sounds great! Let me know how it is and if you would like to chat in person about it just let me know and we can connect. Have a nice night and good luck - I'll be thinking of you - you're not alone!!!

Brenda - posted on 01/04/2009

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May I suggest the book "The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with OCD" by Stephen Martin and Victoria Costello. It is a very easy to read book and should answer that question. It wasn't very expensive. I would try a used book maybe on Amazon.com or similar site. BK

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