Youth and stress

Youth and mental health disorders

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is not well known by youths. Actually, only 16% of them had their own opinion of this disorder. Most of the kids answered that people who suffered from OCD were scared of everything. We asked Audrey Bertrand, doctoral student under the supervision of Dr. Kieron O’Connor at the Fernand-Seguin Research Center to enlighten us on this disorder unknown by adolescents.

First of all, it is false to believe that people who suffer from OCD are afraid of everything. These individuals have specific debilitating obsessions and compulsions that are not generalized. Obsessions are recurrent thoughts or images that are uncontrollable. For example, it can be obsessions of contamination, symmetry or death. These are often paired with compulsions, which are actions or behaviors to counter the obsessions. The compulsions appear to be washing of hands very often, organizing objects in a symmetrical manner or constantly repeating a sentence related to the obsession.

It is interesting to note that the age of onset for the first symptoms is between 6 and 15 for boys and 20 to 29 for women. Furthermore, OCD affects about 2% of youths, and so, is less frequent than depression and substance abuse. This may explain why children know less about this disorder.

To conclude, many mental health disorders start during adolescence or at the beginning of adulthood. This is why it is important for kids and their relatives to know and understand the different mental health disorders. After analyzing all the answers of the adolescents, we observed, at least in part, that some aspects of disorders remain unknown. In order to quickly detect the emergence of the first symptoms and to be able to receive the appropriate medical or psychological treatment, it is important to demystify and destigmatize mental health disorders. Above all, do not forget that you are not alone; mental health disorders touch 20 % of the population. Do not hesitate to talk about it.