The measurement of obsessive compulsive disorder in children and young people in clinical practice

Bennett, S.D. et al. Child and Adolescent Mental Health. 22(2) pp.100–112


Background: If left untreated, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can cause significant distress and impact on functioning throughout the lifespan. Despite the severity of the disorder, there is often a significant delay between the onset of symptoms and successful treatment. This is in part due to delays in recognising OCD symptoms in young people, particularly if the symptom forms are less common. Once OCD is accurately diagnosed, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is known to be an efficacious treatment, sometimes in combination with medication, producing good long-term prognosis. It is therefore important to accurately detect OCD in children and young people so that they can be offered timely intervention. Use of the best tools in clinical and research settings improves detection and diagnosis, as well as enabling the tracking of progress through treatment. The aim of this current paper was to review measurement tools for OCD in young people with a focus on the practicalities of using tools in busy child mental health clinical settings.

Conclusions: There are several measurement tools with good psychometric properties that are useful for initial screening/identification of OCD, as well as formal diagnosis, symptom tracking and treatment evaluation. With the availability of brief screens, as well as online diagnostic measures, such tools should not be a burden on clinical practice, but rather a helpful aid to support clinicians’ assessment and treatment of OCD.

Read the full abstract here


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