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What is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)? Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform.

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What is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform.

If you have OCD, you probably recognize that your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational – but even so, you feel unable to resist them and break free.

Like a needle getting stuck on an old record, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. For example, you may check the stove twenty times to make sure it’s really turned off, wash your hands until they’re scrubbed raw, or drive around for hours to make sure that the bump you heard while driving wasn’t a person you ran over.



Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Criteria



Either obsessions or compulsions:

B. At some point during the course of the disorder, the person has recognized that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable. Note: This does not apply to children.

C. The obsessions or compulsions cause marked distress, are time consuming (take more than 1 hour a day), or significantly interfere with the person’s normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or usual social activities or relationships.

D. I another Axis I disorder is present, the content of the obsessions or compulsions is not restricted to it (e.g., preoccupation with food in the presence of an Eating Disorder; hair pulling in the presence of Trichotillomania; concern with appearance in the presence of Body Dysmorphic Disorder; preoccupation with drugs in the presence of a Substance Use Disorder; preoccupation with having a serious illness in the presence of Hypochondriasis; preoccupation with sexual urges or fantasies in the presence of a Paraphilia; or guilty ruminations in the presence of Major Depressive Disorder).

E. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.


Obsessions as defined by DSM

recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress

(2) the thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems

(3) the person attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, impulses, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action

(4) the person recognizes that the obsessional thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of his or her own mind (not imposed from without as in thought insertion)


Compulsions as defined by DSM

repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly

(2) the behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent or are clearly excessive


In a nutshell

OCD is anxiety on steroids.

It begins with an obsession (which is a thought, image, or impulse)

They are usually unwanted, strange and repulsive.

These strange, repulsive, unwanted thoughts bring on the anxiety.

This makes the obsession seem very important.

The anxiety also brings unpleasant emotions and sensations.

Now comes the compulsion.

The compulsion is an attempt to negate the anxiety.

Compulsions can be overt, mental, or avoidance techniques.

The compulsions make the person feel better. It brings relief.

Therefore it becomes a negative reinforce; which makes the cycle of OCD so powerful.




Unwanted, strange, and repulsive

thoughts, images, or impulse.

“I have germs on me!”

Images of germs

Impulse to wash hands.


Importance of obsession.

Unpleasant emotions and sensations.

“This is really bad and I’ll get sick!”


Crawling sensations on skin


An attempt to get rid of anxiety.

This can be overt, mental, or avoidance.

Wash hands

Tell self “sterile”

Avoid bathrooms



Key Issues for Educators

OCD can have a negative effect on many aspects of school functioning.

OCD can cause a student to have extreme anxiety.

This interferes with a student’s normal capabilities.

Some of the areas affected are learning, memory, problem solving, and focus.

This impacts the capacity to concentrate, understand what is read, comprehend problems,

make deductions, and devise strategies.

In short- students with OCD can experience serious difficulties with the learning process.

Strategies/ accommodations for Educators

Learn about OCD

Bring awareness to the classroom

Focus on self-esteem issues

Create a “safe” environment

Allow breaks to defuse anxiety

Watch for side effects of medication

Recognize tough spots for the child and respond appropriately

Be positive and reward successes

Create ways to reduce stress

A “buddy” system

Seating accommodations

Create different expectations


Key Issues for Social Workers

Students with OCD are often unhappy -- if not depressed -- and feel isolated.

When OCD is untreated, it can cause extreme anxiety or distress in young people.

Anxiety and stress related to OCD complicates the process of building social skills.

OCD behaviors are often observed by others and can be viewed as strange.

This can lead to the child feeling isolated.

Be vigilant for the presence of peer teasing and bullying

Strategies/ accommodations for a Social Worker

Teach tolerance and diversity appreciation

including individual differences associated with a variety of disabilities.

Use support strategies to defuse or negate social stigma.

Establish anti-bullying programs (zero tolerance, teach tolerance, empathy, respect

and conflict resolution strategies)

Strengths Perspective (celebrate skills and talent)


Key Issues for Parents

Communication is key: Talk and listen to you child

Inform and involve all family members about OCD

Remind yourself that OCD is based on emotion not on logic

Don’t feed the reassurance monster

Substitute honey for vinegar

Never participate in your child’s rituals

Recognize the many forms that OCD takes

Strategies/ accommodations

for Parents with Children who have OCD




Sugar free




Sameness of surroundings

Sensory sensitive environment

SSRI’s and cognitive behavioral therapy


Short-term goals for social workers

Open the doors of communication between child, parents, teachers, and staff.

Externalize anxiety and develop plan in dealing with OCD

Set up learning and behavioral accommodations.

Aid parents in outside resources, such as therapy.

Long-term goals for social workers

Document data for assessment of learning and behavioral accommodations.

Revise as needed

Continue to communicate with parents, teachers, and therapist about ongoing strategies.


Famous People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Charles Darwin - 1809-1882 Naturalist, author; OCD and stutter. Darwin's many lifelong and serious illnesses

have been the subject of much speculation and study for over a century. Darwin stated that his health problems

began as early as 1825 when he was only sixteen years old, and became incapacitating around age 28.

The exact nature of Darwin's illness or illnesses remain mysterious at this time. Unless sophisticated molecular

probing of his biological remains is allowed, no definitive diagnosis can be reached. It has been speculated that one

of Darwin's conditions may have been Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Howard Hughes - Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. (24 December 1905 - 5 April 1976), was an American aviator,

engineer, industrialist, film producer and director, and one of the wealthiest people in the world. By the late 1950s

Hughes had developed debilitating symptoms of social avoidance behavior and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

The Aviator (2004), directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes focuses primarily on

Hughes' achievements in aviation, in the movies, and on the increasing handicaps imposed on him by his

obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Billy Bob Thornton - (born August 4, 1955) is an Academy Award-winning American screenwriter, actor, as well as

occasional director, playwright and singer. He came to fame in the mid 1990s, after writing, directing, and starring in

the film Sling Blade. Billy Bob Thornton explains his particular penchant for repetitive compulsive actions. 'I have a

little bit of OCD,' he says. 'The simple ones I can explain to you. The more complex ones, I don't even know how to

tell anybody.' He and rock singer Warren Zevon became close friends after sharing their common experiences

with the disorder.

Donald Trump - Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946 in Queens, New York, New York) is an American business

executive, entrepreneur, television and radio personality and author. He is also known for his catchphrase "You're Fired“

and his distinctive hair style. Donald Trump, host of the TV show "The Apprentice," has a germ phobia that makes him

afraid to shake hands. Property tycoon Donald Trump confesses he has borderline obsessive compulsive disorder and

is terrified of germs. The star refuses to touch the ground floor button of a lift and avoids shaking hands with people

- especially teachers.


iCounselor: OCD

By iCounselor



Packed with info, videos, fundraisers, activities, and much more.

It even has a shop to buy gifts, books, t-shirts, etc.

I found this handy little website

for kids that contains this great

little book on how to deal with


I decided to copy the whole book!

You can find it on the remaining slides.

The website has it also in PDF form.



Obsessive-compulsive disorder (ocd) . Symptoms and Treatment of Compulsive Behavior and Obsessive Thoughts

Retrieved from

DSM IV Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Criteria..

Retrieved from

Specialty behavioral health.

Retrieved from

OCD education station. A resource for school education.

Retrieved from:

Stuck. A fun and friendly resource for parents and children with ocd. Cinnamon’s 10 strategies for coping ocd.

Retrieved from:

Parenting kids and teens with ocd. Don’t feed the reassurance monster … and other quick tips

Retrieved from:

Disabled world towards tomorrow. Famous people with obsessive compulsive disorder.

Retrieved from:

Ocd-uk. Supporting children and adults affected by obsessive compulsive disorder.

Retrieved from:

Ocd kids. Ocd a guide for children with ocd.

Retrieved from: