Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

What is OCD?

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder of the brain and behavior. OCD causes severe anxiety in those affected. People with OCD have repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that drive then to do something (compulsion).
  • Obsessions are thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again, that are out of the person’s control.
  • Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or thoughts that a person uses with the intentions of counteracting, in order to make the obsessions go away.


  • Still don’t know the causes, possibly due to the brain, and genes
  • Some believe that it begins during childhood.
  • Can be seen that it runs in family
  • There is no discrimination between males and females with OCD


  •   Obsessions or compulsions that cause major distress or interfere with everyday life.
  • Fear of contamination or dirt
  • Having things orderly of symmetrical
  • Unwanted thoughts
  • People suffering know it is a problem


  •   Checking and rechecking actions (lights on/off)
  • Excessive counting
  • Excessive fear of germs
  • Repeatedly washing hands
  • Repeating words silently
  • Praying silently over and over
  • Intense stress when objects aren’t orderly or facing a certain way


  •   Only a licensed therapist can diagnose
  • They look for:
  1. The person has obsessions
  2. He/She does compulsive behaviors
  3. The obsessions and compulsions take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person values, such as working, going to school, or spending time with friends.


  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT): a form of therapy that focuses on the relationships with thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Medication


  •   Almost 1 out of every 40 people will suffer from OCD at some time in their lives. In 2013, approximately 2.2 million American adults is affected by OCD.
  • If one person in a family has OCD, there is a 25% chance another immediate family member has the condition.
  • 2.3% of the population between ages 13-54 suffer from OCD
  • In the U.S. about 3.3 million people have OCD of which you have 0.3 to 1% of pediatric population and 2% of adult population.
  • The age of onset is typically reported as 6-15 for males and 20-29 for females and is usually by the age of 40.

Teaching Students with OCD

  • Extended time for tests and papers: Since they are wanting everything to be perfect, they require extra time for them to actually be able to finish an exam.
  • Laptops for writing: It keeps the children from having to worry about perfecting their handwriting.
  • A buddy system (peer coach): Having someone around that will help keep them on speed and track with the class will help them not fall behind.
  • Private testing rooms: Having the children in a controlled environment allows them to focus more on the test rather than everything else going on in the room.
  • Skip reading out loud: This helps the children from having anxiety over reading and trying to perfect the reading.
  • Books on tape: Since they are so centered on perfecting the reading, having a book on tape can fix that quickly and effectively.
  • Plan an escape route: This will help the student, so that they know what to do if they ever feel symptoms coming on and that will help them from having an episode in the middle of the classroom.
  • Be aware of triggering events: This will allow the teacher to avoid anything that might possibly cause an event to happen with the child to where they could have an episode during class.
  • Advance notice: The children must stay on a schedule, and by deviating the child could cause a trigger. So by giving the child and the family amply notice of upcoming events, the unit surrounding the child can help prepare him/her for whatever is coming up.
  • Seating arrangements: Depending on the child’s OCD symptoms, it can depend of where the child should be seated around the classroom.
  • Peer understanding program: By teaching surrounding students about what the child with OCD is going through, it allows the class to really see what goes on in their peer’s mind, so they can learn that the child is not different, there are just some other factors going on in their life that makes them special.


Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, 4th Edition, Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014, pp. 1746-1750.

Get Informed. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2015, from http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2011-1...

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ocd...

Obsessive-compulsive disorder: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2015, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/0...

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What is OCD? (2014, April 28). Retrieved April 12, 2015, from http://iocdf.org/about-ocd/

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