Navigation Links
Wrong type of help from parents could worsen child's OCD
Date:6/17/2009

GAINESVILLE For most parents, soothing a child's anxiety is just part of the job. But for a parent whose child has obsessive-compulsive disorder, soothing anxiety and helping with behaviors linked to the disease could lead to more severe symptoms, University of Florida researchers say.

Often, parents of children with OCD will help their children complete rituals related to their obsessions and compulsions, such as excessive bathing or checking things like door locks, according to findings recently published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. These accommodations can be anything that makes the symptoms of OCD less impairing, from reassuring a child that his hands are clean and his baby brother is OK to even doing his homework for him or buying objects that make the child feel safe.

"Parents do that because that is what a parent whose child doesn't have OCD would do," said Lisa Merlo, Ph.D., a UF assistant professor of psychiatry and the lead author of the study. "If your child is upset, you try to comfort them. But what we know is, for patients with OCD, if they get an accommodation, that reinforces the OCD to them.

"It's validating the OCD in the kid's mind, and that's what you don't want to do."

About one in 200 children and teenagers in the United States have OCD, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

The study included 49 children between 6 and 18 with OCD and their families who came to UF for a type of treatment called cognitive-behavioral therapy. This form of therapy involves exposing children to their fears and teaching them better ways to respond and cope. During the sessions, therapists teach parents how they should deal with their child's OCD, too.

Prior to the start of the 14-session therapy, the researchers gauged how severe each child's condition was and compared it to how many accommodating behaviors parents reported. They found that the more severe the child's OCD, the more the child's family seemed to accommodate OCD behaviors.

"You would think if parents are helping, the kids would be less impaired," Merlo said. "But what we are seeing is that it snowballs and makes it worse and worse."

After the treatment, researchers noticed a significant decrease in how often families were assisting children with OCD behaviors and rituals. Children whose families had the biggest decrease in these accommodations also had the biggest improvement in their OCD symptoms, Merlo said.

What researchers don't yet know is if a family's "help" causes a child's OCD to worsen or if the severity of the disease causes parents to try to do more to help their children.

Some children, including many who come to UF's clinic, have symptoms so severe it prevents them from playing with friends or even going to school, Merlo said. In these instances, parents often feel they have to do whatever they can to help their children function, from doing their homework for them to buying specific items they feel like they need.

"If a kid is struggling a lot, parents feel like they have to do a lot to get through the day," Merlo said. "But if the child is not experiencing the natural consequences of the OCD symptoms, then they don't have any motivation to stop."

This phenomenon isn't exclusive to children and parents, said Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Ph.D., an associate professor and associate chairman of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"We see it with adults' spouses and partners, too. In trying to be helpful to the person with OCD, they end up making the problem worse."

Although therapists have noticed this phenomenon anecdotally, there has so far been little research evidence to prove it. UF's study will help therapists and scientists address the problem, he said.

"It is very nice to have research data to back up these clinical observations," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: April Frawley Birdwell
afrawley@ufl.edu
352-273-5817
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Could standard treatment for traumatic brain injury be wrong?
2. Stem Cell Biotherapy Sues Casey Nabavi, Co-Founder and Former President, for Conduct Resulting in Claims by SCB Patients Against Nabavi, Embezzling Money and Converting Other Assets Belonging to SCB and for Wrongfully Establishing Cellulogix Biosciences t
3. The Pope is Wrong on Condoms
4. $12 Million New Jersey Medical Malpractice Verdict for Wrongful Death of a 21-Year-Old Man After Having Wisdom Teeth Removed
5. RNC: Wrong Prescription
6. FactCheck.org Gets It Wrong on Stimulus Package
7. Family Planning Provision Wrongfully Removed From Economic Stimulus Package
8. Free antibiotics: The wrong prescription for cold and flu season
9. Employees Wrongly Think You Get What You Pay For in Health Care
10. New SEIU Television Ad: Thelma Drake is Wrong for Veterans, Wrong For Virginia
11. The Lanier Law Firm Announces Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Rice University, Former Coach, NCAA, Others in Students Sickle-Cell Death
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader providing predictive analytics to ... technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers with ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... KS (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... TopConsumerReviews.com ... retailers of Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States and ... have become a way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A Forever Recovery, a holistic treatment ... Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the rehabilitation facility is located. This ... of the world’s leading providers of cereal and other breakfast foods. Its residents often ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health Supply is ... of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs that have ... Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia Root Extract ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan ... require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. , June 23, 2016 ... faced the many challenges of the current process. Many of ... option because of the technical difficulties and high laboratory costs ... would have to offer it at such a high cost ... to afford it. Dr. Parsa Zadeh , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  In a startling report released today, ... their residents by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan to eliminate prescription ... definitive ranking of how states are tackling the worst drug crisis ... four states – Kentucky , New ... Vermont . Of the 28 failing states, three – ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... to 2022" report to their offering. ... financial data derived from varied research sources to present unique ... on the market during the next five years, including a ... markets, regional and country level analysis. The report provides a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: