Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)/Fear of Death...?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by sueb, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. sueb

    sueb New Member

    My 9 y/o daughter has been diagnosed as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)/borderline ADD. I understand that the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder and my daughter's biggest preoccupation seems to be (at its root) a fear of death (hers or ours). For example, for a time she compulsively hand-washed, because she was afraid of germs because....the germs could get her sick and kill her. Now, she's repeating little prayers in her head all day to ward off "bad things" from happening.

    Ultimately, it all seems to come down to a fear of death/dyiing.

    I'm just wondering if that's common, if anyone has had any success/tips for helping a morbid little 9 y/o...?


    P.S. Tried to create a signature...not sure if it's showing...
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Paxil was the medication of choice for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Not sure if you are medicating, but a higher level of medications is needed for treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) than depression.

    This is always a heartbreaking thing for a parent to hear their child obsessing on. I am sorry.


  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    A warning was put out in 2004 that children should not take Paxil. Four anti-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have been approved by the FDA for use in children: the tricyclic Anafranil and the SSRIs Prozac, Luvox and Zoloft.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy is the therapy of choice to help any children with anxiety. However, some children with excessive worry need medications in order to access therapy. When the worry affects life function, you need to strongly consider medications.
  4. sueb

    sueb New Member

    Thank you Susie and Smallworld.

    My daughter has been in some form of therapy for almost 3 years but next week she's beginning more formal CBT (not sure what exactly will be involved except that her dad and I will be active participants according to her therapist).

    I don't mean to be negative but I'm afraid absent medications, it might not be enough but my husband is "anti-medication" so I'm willing to try CBT by itself for some period of time (6 months...?) before I go to the mat with my husband about the medications issue.

    Thanks for the info. Maybe I'm wrong and the CBT will be sufficient. I'm also looking in the "naturals" index to see if there's something over-the-counter that will help with her anxiety in the meantime.
  5. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Hello and welcome. My easy child developed anxiety about flying after flying for years. It became pretty intense with puberty.
    It all came down to his fear of me dying. He went through CBT. It's good. They work on techniques that help interrupt the repetitive negative thinking. They work on imagining the process of whatever their obsession is to help desensitize them. There is a lot of discussion about ways to help oneself in this state.
    They didn't all work at once but they provided him with tools to gradually get more comfortable with flying. Now he doesn't seem to have any problems with it. It was a gradual process.

    Good luck.
  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I grew up being with an anti-medication frame of mind. Not sure where that came from - I just decided that medications are bad for you - I also refused to color my hair, also not sure where that thought came from but I did let my easy child color my hair a few months ago (what we don't do for our kids!).

    I quickly changed my medications thought frame with my kids. Medications scare me, however, facing what my difficult child was going through without scared me more. So, I am o.k. with medications as long as 1. The doctor is truly committed to find the best combo/dose, and 2. They work.

    One thing that helps me is that our docs have told us that the medications are not the cure but just a part of the tool box to make the challenges more manageable. I am against medications that are given only to cover a problem - there has to be the treatment plan to go with it. That is where the counselling comes in to assist difficult child to recognize onsets of symptoms and learn how to deal before the problem is too big.

    Medications shouldn't be a definate "yes" or "no". I would hope our doctors don't prescribe just because. Though I changed Doctors because my last one said, "I don't know what this is so I am going to treat the symptom. I think it is anxiety so here is Zoloft." I just couldn't give difficult child Zoloft based on a "I don't know, I think ..." You have to feel comfortable with your doctor's plan.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As one who takes medications myself and has mild Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), I'd try CBT before medicating. These medications are very hard to withdraw from. They can also cause worsening of behavior in the wrong people. I've had that happen to me. For kids, I think it's always smart to try other things before medicating, although I'm not against medication if nothing else works. But be careful as these medications are heavy duty. I take Paxil and tried Prozac, Zoloft and some older antidepressants. They all made me worse except Paxil and it's a very individual thing. Good luck!
  8. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    I've mentioned it before but I don't know if anyone else has tried it: My son found the most success in treating anxiety with hypnotherapy. I'm sure a lot depends on the hypnotherapist but we must have gotten lucky (for a change) because he saw two, both of whom helped him a lot. (I should probably mention that he was over 18 when he saw them.)
  9. libranaster

    libranaster New Member

    Awwwwww poor little darling give her a hug from me and tell her its from someone who understands. The problem with this is it is a genuine fear. I personally have suffered from depression and anxiety all my life. Yes I was born with it and I know that sounds kinda wierd but going through what you are with your daughter I am sure you get the picture. I don't have bad Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)'s or anything but I know how she feels sometimes my mental illness causes me to get a little obsessive and then sometimes it causes me to tune out entirely depends on the day week or month really. I choose to use the obsessive behaviour to my advantage. Like instead of going on mind numbing medication that made me feel like a zombie I will say in my head things like if I have a depressive thought I repeat to myself how silly it is over and over until I feel better. Or in the morning I will look in the mirror and repeat to myself something good about myself. You could see if she is able to do that too but I don't have an actual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) so it is easier for me.

    Just don't expect too much from her, set her the goal of ending the day thinking of something nice and anything else she does is just icing on the cake.

    I went through this terrible thing when I was 12 in science we learned about germs and what skin looks like under a microscope I spent like 4 months obsessively washing and feeling sick all the time and like ripping my skin off and as I said I don't have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) I just suffer from anxiety so may I suggest warning her high school not to have her present that day because that was seriously traumatising.

    I was about 11 when one day I realised I had to die and there was no getting out of it. The terror I felt was indiscribable and it is sad she has to feel that everyday. I didn't feel like I would live to be this age (I am 25) so the fact I have is a miracle to me and suprising and sometimes I am not quite sure what to do with myself as I never thought I would get here. These may be feelings she will have when she gets older too. Try to be understanding and loving is all I can say mental illness can destroy lives and good people.

    All I can suggest is if she will co operate put all your other children to bed and sit with her and talk about something nice before bed it may help. Talk about something that made you laugh that day or something you thought she did well it might help her break the mind set. Also don't be afraid to discuss death with her. If you have made arrangments for if that happened to you let her know what they are because she just wants to be in control of the situation and the more in control she feels the better for her. I know its hard and morbid but if a child is frightened they need to know they will be ok if that happened. My mum did that with us when we got to about the same age and started asking questions and it did make me feel a little bit better to know I would be looked after.

    Fears about her personal safety and death are different but I have a few things I still insist on in this house because you never know one of us might not walk back in that door. One we have to say goodbye and I love you before we leave so that if something happens thats the last thing we said.

    I am no expert and these are just suggestions if they are bull just stay doing what you are doing I am sure you are dealing just fine and the only thing I can think of telling her in regards to her own personal safety is if death wants to get you he would have to come through me first and there is no chance of that happening.

    I am like her extreamly frightened of death of myself or people I love and it is always there in the back of my mind even as an adult it sometimes occurs to me that I have to die and I freak out but I still live my life. Given its a wierd life but I live it.
  10. libranaster

    libranaster New Member

    I just remembered if she does still have this problem when she gets older like my age or maybe 18 but not younger there is some stuff that has helped me. I started finding web sites in death and decomposition. I kind of eased myself into it with some post mortem photography stuff but then I went to more hard core death stuff and I started looking at the pictures and reading the facts about the bodies and death and stuff now it might sound just disgusting to the everyday person but for me it has been the most calming thing. It was like what the other person was talking about with desensitising. Having the facts on what I will look like and what will happen to me when I die for some reason has just helped me more than I can say. For instance some days when I get really freaked out I just look at that stuff and read it and some how the facts make me feel better. As I said its a control issue and the number 1 thing that no one can control is death, not when we die, how we die or where we die or what happens after. So it is really a wonder more people don't freak out. Still having some grasp on what will happen just made me feel more comfortable with the concept and so much less freaked about the whole thing. Think of it this way it is hard for her or I to understand why the rest of the world is screaming mad from the worry of death. So we think everyone else must be nuts and you think we are nuts it works out for us all :laugh:.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Libranaster, sounds like you've developed your own version of cognitive behaviour therapy. You've also done it through taking control of your own fears, which is an important part of the process.

    Sue, it sounds like a therapist may be a good way to start.