Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Resource Center

Last updated November 2022


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is seen in as many as 1-3% of children and adolescents. OCD is characterized by recurrent intense obsessions and/or compulsions that cause severe distress and interfere with day-to-day functioning.

 Obsessions are repetitive and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are unwanted and cause marked anxiety or distress. Frequently, they are unrealistic or irrational. They are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems or

 preoccupations. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or rituals (like hand washing, keeping things in order, checking something over and over) or mental acts (like counting or repeating words silently). 

In OCD, the obsessions or compulsions cause significant anxiety or distress, or they interfere with the child's normal routine, academic functioning, social activities, or relationships.

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Facts for Families


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Video Clips

Introducing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
A short cartoon video explaining OCD for older kids, teens, and their families from the perspective of a young girl with OCD

Ask the Expert: CBT for OCD
A 1-minute explanation of treatments for OCD for patients and their families, by Columbia University Medical Center OCD expert, Dr. Blair Simpson

Treatment for Children with OCD
A 3-minute summary of one teenager’s experience with OCD and the treatment he received

OCD Strategies with Dr. Rynn of Columbia University on the Conquer Worry Radio Show, Oct. 19, 2014
A 45-minute audio recording for the public on the basics of anxiety and OCD in children and adolescents

Keynote for the FIU Center for Children and Families
A 75-minute presentation by John Piacentini, PhD, on the basics of OCD for professionals and families who want to have a more advanced understanding of the disorder

Dr. Eli Lebowitz of the Yale Child Study Center explains how to create effective exposures for professionals who treat OCD in a 15-minute video

Dr. Michael Jeneke provides brief explanation of PANS/PANDAS for physicians

A 20-minute video briefly describing PANS/PANDAS for professionals

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Clinical Research

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Rating Scales:

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Research and Training

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry:
March 2019 - Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 307-388
Parent-based treatment as efficacious as cognitive behavioral therapy for childhood anxiety: A randomized noninferiority study of supportive parenting for anxious childhood emotions.

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry:
April 2015 - Volume 54 - Issue 4 - pp 251-262
Assessment and Management of Treatment-Refractory Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Children

Obsessive-compulsive and tic-related disorders.
Martin E Franklin et al., Child And Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics, 2012

March JS (1995), Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for children and adolescents with OCD: a review and recommendations for treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 34:7-18

Tic-Related Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Phenomenology and Treatment Outcome in the Pediatric OCD Treatment Study II

Telephone Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Non-inferiority Trial

Case Study: A New Infection-Triggered, Autoimmune Subtype of Pediatric OCD and Tourette's Syndrome

Early Childhood OCD: Preliminary Findings From a Family-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Approach

Therapist-Guided, Internet-Delivered Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Adolescents With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Cognitive-behavior therapy, sertraline, and their combination for children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder: the Pediatric OCD Treatment Study (POTS) randomized controlled trial.

IACAPAP Online Textbook of Child and Adolescent Mental Health: OCD chapter

Clinical Management of Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome

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Getting Help

Find a child and adolescent psychiatrist in your area

Related Websites

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Live Free OCD

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