Sleep and OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a chronic condition affecting more than 2% of the population and an estimated 1 in 100 children as young as four and five years of age. While it can come with several challenges, including disordered sleep, OCD is highly treatable, especially with behavioral therapy.

As the premier pediatric behavioral health center in Arizona, our team at Scottsdale Pediatric Behavioral Services specializes in treating a wide range of behavioral and developmental disorders, including OCD. Here’s what you need to know about this unique condition, how it can affect your child’s sleep, and how to manage their disorder.

Recognizing OCD in children

Obsessive-compulsive disorder involves persistent feelings, thoughts, or fears (obsessions) that can cause a child to feel anxious. Common OCD obsessions seen in children include:

  • Fear of committing an error or breaking a rule
  • Thinking something is dirty, germy, or clean
  • Needing something to be straight or put in a precise way
  • Believing something is bad, good, lucky, or unlucky
  • Worrying they or someone else will get hurt, sick, or die

To ease their anxiety, children develop rituals — or compulsions — to prevent “bad things” from happening. These rituals are repeated behaviors that a child needs to do in a certain way, like washing or cleaning, erasing or redoing things, repeating words or phrases, or performing actions in a specific order.

It’s common for children with OCD to have lengthy rituals associated with getting ready for bed and sleeping at night. Children with OCD also tend to have a hard time both sleeping and waking up in the morning, and they experience more tiredness throughout the day.

Managing OCD in children

Fortunately, studies show that children with OCD respond very well to treatment, especially when it involves behavioral therapy.

At Scottsdale Pediatric Behavioral Services, our team of specialists uses evidence-based procedures to identify and modify existing behaviors so we can help children become more adept at managing their OCD symptoms. This approach involves training them to recognize their specific anxieties so they can learn how to alter their responses to them.

When treating OCD, we also work with parents and caregivers to provide tools to help manage their child’s behavior, which puts the whole family on a more positive path together.

Getting started with OCD behavior therapy

First, we perform an initial assessment ranging from brief interviews and observations to a comprehensive evaluation analyzing your child’s unique skills and challenges. Then, we develop a thorough and personalized treatment strategy with interventions — not only for use in your home but also in the clinic and other settings where your child’s OCD behaviors occur.

Depending on your child’s condition, we might recommend a variety of treatments, such as:

  • Comprehensive applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy
  • Parent, teacher, and caregiver training
  • Instructional programming
  • Problem behavior reduction programming

To learn more about OCD behavior therapy in children, contact our office in North Scottsdale, Arizona, by calling 480-410-4040 or by requesting a phone call online today.