I Think I Have OCD. What Should I Do?

I Think I Have OCD. What Should I Do?

I'm 13. Ever since I can remember, I've had strange habits like tapping my fingers. Now I always spell words I hear using my fingers. This affects my concentration at school and slows my reading and writing. My friends notice it and my mom gets irritated when I do it, so I started spelling it in my head. Do I have OCD? If so, will it be OK if I write a note to my doctor and give it to her at my next visit? I feel too embarrassed to talk about it.
- Yolanda*

The habits you describe could be signs of OCD, especially since you say that they interfere with your concentration, slow down your writing at school, and happen often enough to be noticeable and irritating to others. OCD is more common than many people think.

Continuing to give in to the habits can strengthen them, which can lead to developing other habits too. The good news is that symptoms like this can get better. But it's going to take a big effort on your part to resist the urge you feel to perform the habits. It will take commitment and willingness to let these habits go. Often, that's easier said than done, because the urge can feel intense!

It may feel quite uncomfortable not to do what you've been used to doing — and tough to stop the spelling. That's why people can benefit from a health professional's guidance on how to resist habits successfully.

Talking to a parent and your doctor is a good idea. (It's OK to pass your doctor a note if you have a hard time bringing up the topic.) A doctor or therapist can help you be certain whether you are dealing with OCD, and provide proper guidance and support for how to free yourself from these habits. Plenty of others your age have dealt with this successfully, and you can, too!

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: February 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com

Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
OrganizationObsessive-Compulsive Foundation (OCF) OCF educates the public and professional communities about OCD and related disorders, provides assistance to families, and supports research of the causes and effective treatments of these disorders.
Related Articles
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Everyone feels anxiety, fear, or worry at some time - it's normal to worry about school, your friends, your appearance, and tons of other stuff. But for teens with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), these feelings are taken to extremes.
Talking to Your Doctor Your best resource for health information and advice is your doctor - the person who knows you, your medical history, and accurate medical information to answer your questions.
Talking to Your Parents - or Other Adults Whether it's an everyday issue like schoolwork or an emergency situation, these tips can help you improve communications with your parents and other adults.
School Counselors School counselors can give you all sorts of tips and support on solving problems and making good decisions. But how do you meet with a counselor and what is it like? Find out here.
Developments Developments
Sign up for enewsletter
Get involved Get involved
Discover ways to support Akron Children's