What to do about obsessions and compulsive behaviour in kids

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Kid washing hands. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Kid washing hands. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Constant hand-washing and an unreasonable fear of germs can indicate obsessive-compulsive disorder – and it affects children as much as adults.

When her son first began acting strangely she thought it was a phase he would soon grow out of. But when 12-year-old Donovan* began going to the bathroom every hour to wash his hands, spent up to 10 minutes doing so and refused to dry them twice on the same towel Pauline Meyer* of Boksburg realised something was wrong. At the dinner table he insisted on being served first and would not use the serving spoons if someone had used them before him.

When he began withdrawing from activities with the family such as playing with the dogs or playing darts because they were “dirty” Pauline sought help from his school psychologist.

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