Compulsions, or repetitive behaviors, are characteristics of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). They help relieve distress from obsessions.
Following are common compulsions found in children and adolescents with OCD.
Washing, Cleaning, Grooming
- Need to wash a certain number of times or a certain way to be “clean enough.”
- Excessive use of soap or cleaning products.
- Excessive use of toilet paper.
- Extreme caution to prevent certain objects from touching other objects or people he or she perceives to be contaminated.
- Saying a phrase repeatedly until it's “just right.”
- Retracing steps.
- Touching or tapping corners of objects.
- Touching objects that others have just touched.
- Repeatedly checking to make sure:
- Doors and windows are closed and locked.
- All the lights are off.
- The stove is turned off or appliances are unplugged.
- All necessary items are in his or her book bag.
- Excessively checking the time.
- Repeatedly reviewing his or her answers on a test to the point of not finishing or being late.
- Counting things such as steps, objects, words, or numbers.
- Repeated mental computations.
- Lining up items in a certain way.
- Organizing school work or objects in his or her room according to a certain pattern.
- Straightening books or papers until they are “even.”
- Excessively categorizing music, videos, games, or movies.
- Repeated questions about whether or not he or she:
- Understood directions.
- Will get sick.
- Is going to be late.
- Need to know details.
- Repeated requests for parents or others to feel his or her forehead for signs of a fever.
- Excessive questioning about whether or not food was prepared correctly.
- Need to tell excessive details.
- Apologizing for minor mistakes.
- Often, repeatedly apologizing not only for his or her own actions but for the actions of others.
- Inability to throw away items that others view as “junk” or garbage:
- Broken toys.
- Used tissues.
- Useless tools.
- Old worksheets.
- Food wrappers.
- Excessive and ritualized prayers.
- Visualizing a “good“ thought to cancel out a “bad“ thought.
- Mentally repeating certain words or numbers.
Make an Appointment with the Pediatric OCD Program
To a schedule an evaluation of your child's symptoms to see if they meet the criteria for an OCD diagnosis, or to discuss OCD treatment options, call 412-235-5354.