Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder that is typically believed to reveal itself in adulthood, but researchers are now discovering that a fair amount of children and teens have the condition as well. And as researchers begin exploring the roots of this disorder, early treatment of OCD through therapy is possible, and prevention might not be far off.

As USA Today reports, approximately 1 to 2 percent of children and teens have OCD, which “equals out to at least a few in every U.S. elementary and high school.”

“We’re just beginning to understand what’s going on with kids in OCD,” said Jeff Szymanski, executive director of the International OCD Foundation.

OCD typically originates from a person’s genetics, researchers say, but environmental stressors in a child’s personal, family or school life can also trigger the disorder, which will usually follow them into adulthood.

But treatments can be effective 85 percent of the time, whether through exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapy, antidepressants, such as Zoloft and Prozac, or both.

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Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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