Bringing Development Into the Equation

  • Tobias U. Hauser
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Tobias U. Hauser, Ph.D.
    Affiliations
    Max Planck University College London Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, University College London, London, United Kingdom
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      Fifteen-year-old Daniel was recently diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He is constantly afraid that might have lost one of his belongings—maybe the phone, or the notebook, or that blue pen. Consequently, he needs to check every place he is about to leave to make sure that he has not left anything behind—under the chair, between the sofa cushions, or in the manhole in the pavement that he just walked across. Daniel’s OCD is highly debilitating; whenever he needs to change places, he spends ages checking and checking again that he truly has everything with him. This makes attending school difficult, and the trip to school has become an ordeal. As a consequence, his academic achievements have suffered, he has difficulty spending time with friends, and his OCD has given rise to substantial tension within his family. But Daniel is not alone. Juvenile OCD is a relatively common but neglected psychiatric disorder. Up to 3% of the population has OCD, and the majority of patients have onset in late childhood or early adolescence (
      • Shafran R.
      Obsessive-compulsive disorder in children and adolescents.
      ).
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