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From Baltimore, Maryland, USA:

My seven year old son occasionally demonstrates compulsive behavior. An example would be frequently touching an object or walking through a doorway two times. He has displayed this behavior for about two years, off and on. I've tried multiple ways to help him stop this behavior. The only way that seems to work is reassurance and ignoring much of the behavior. (I think I may have symptoms of OCD myself.)

I've discussed this with our pediatrician who felt we should watch him closely and see a child psychiatrist if his symptoms worsened. We have yet to discuss this with our endocrinologist.

My questions are:

  1. Are type 1 diabetics at greater risk for OCD?

  2. Is the behavior a possible manifestation of the stress of dealing with the diabetes?

  3. When should we seek a mental health professional?

  4. Is this behavior something that will mostly likely pass as he grows older?


Individuals living with diabetes are not at greater risk for developing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) than any other individual. However, there seems to be a strong genetic component to OCD, so if you believe you might have it yourself, you children are at increased risk for developing it. Although it is possible that some kind of stressor triggered the start of OCD behaviors, OCD would have likely occurred anyway - that is, it is not a particular stressor that causes it, especially since OCD has a strong biological component to it, but a particular stress could have lowered the threshold for the symptoms to become evident. This is not something that people grow out of, and it must be treated, or it could become more debilitating over time, impacting your son's ability to have fun, play, enjoy and learn in school, and keep friends. I would strongly encourage you to seek the consultation of a psychologist or a psychiatrist with experience in working with children who display OCD behaviors.


Original posting 14 Apr 2004
Posted to Behavior


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