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Obsessive compulsive disorder in very young children - a case series from a specialized outpatient clinic


Brezinka, Veronika; Mailänder, Veronika; Walitza, Susanne (2020). Obsessive compulsive disorder in very young children - a case series from a specialized outpatient clinic. BMC Psychiatry, 20:366.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Paediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic condition often associated with severe disruptions of family functioning, impairment of peer relationships and academic performance. Mean age of onset of juvenile OCD is 10.3 years; however, reports on young children with OCD show that the disorder can manifest itself at an earlier age. Both an earlier age of onset and a longer duration of illness have been associated with increased persistence of OCD. There seems to be difficulty for health professionals to recognize and diagnose OCD in young children appropriately, which in turn may prolong the interval between help seeking and receiving an adequate diagnosis and treatment. The objective of this study is to enhance knowledge about the clinical presentation, diagnosis and possible treatment of OCD in very young children.

CASE PRESENTATION

We describe a prospective 6 month follow-up of five cases of OCD in very young children (between 4 and 5 years old). At the moment of first presentation, all children were so severely impaired that attendance of compulsory Kindergarten was uncertain. Parents were deeply involved in accommodating their child's rituals. Because of the children's young age, medication was not indicated. Therefore, a minimal CBT intervention for parents was offered, mainly focusing on reducing family accommodation. Parents were asked to bring video tapes of critical situations that were watched together. They were coached to reduce family accommodation for OCD, while enhancing praise and reward for adequate behaviors of the child. CY-BOCS scores at the beginning and after 3 months show an impressive decline in OCD severity that remained stable after 6 months. At 3 months follow-up, all children were able to attend Kindergarten daily, and at 6 months follow-up, every child was admitted to the next level / class.

CONCLUSIONS

Disseminating knowledge about the clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of early OCD may shorten the long delay between first OCD symptoms and disease-specific treatment that is reported as main predictor for persistent OCD.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Paediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic condition often associated with severe disruptions of family functioning, impairment of peer relationships and academic performance. Mean age of onset of juvenile OCD is 10.3 years; however, reports on young children with OCD show that the disorder can manifest itself at an earlier age. Both an earlier age of onset and a longer duration of illness have been associated with increased persistence of OCD. There seems to be difficulty for health professionals to recognize and diagnose OCD in young children appropriately, which in turn may prolong the interval between help seeking and receiving an adequate diagnosis and treatment. The objective of this study is to enhance knowledge about the clinical presentation, diagnosis and possible treatment of OCD in very young children.

CASE PRESENTATION

We describe a prospective 6 month follow-up of five cases of OCD in very young children (between 4 and 5 years old). At the moment of first presentation, all children were so severely impaired that attendance of compulsory Kindergarten was uncertain. Parents were deeply involved in accommodating their child's rituals. Because of the children's young age, medication was not indicated. Therefore, a minimal CBT intervention for parents was offered, mainly focusing on reducing family accommodation. Parents were asked to bring video tapes of critical situations that were watched together. They were coached to reduce family accommodation for OCD, while enhancing praise and reward for adequate behaviors of the child. CY-BOCS scores at the beginning and after 3 months show an impressive decline in OCD severity that remained stable after 6 months. At 3 months follow-up, all children were able to attend Kindergarten daily, and at 6 months follow-up, every child was admitted to the next level / class.

CONCLUSIONS

Disseminating knowledge about the clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of early OCD may shorten the long delay between first OCD symptoms and disease-specific treatment that is reported as main predictor for persistent OCD.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:11 July 2020
Deposited On:14 Jul 2020 05:24
Last Modified:01 Aug 2020 18:52
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1471-244X
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-020-02780-0
Official URL:https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-020-02780-0
PubMed ID:32653035

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