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New Research Finding: Children as Young as Four Can Have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Researchers recently found that children as young as four can have full-blown symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. Obsessive compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. Symptoms of this disorder include reoccurring unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviors, such as hand washing, counting, rechecking, and cleaning. Symptoms may also include catastrophic fears, such as fear of death or harm to themselves or others.

The study conducted at Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center is one of the first of its kind to focus on young children. In addition to obsessive compulsive disorder, nearly 22% also had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and about 20% also had generalized anxiety disorder. These findings are important because if left untreated, symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder tend to get worse with age and can significantly affect a child’s life. If you suspect that your child has obsessive compulsive disorder, discuss your concerns with his or her doctor. The sooner a child receives treatment, the better.

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