Children Mental Illness 1Any parent of a small child is probably familiar with temper tantrums. Most all children throw a tantrum at some point in their lives, but for children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), these outbursts are likely more frequent. A new study originating out of the United Kingdom also says that tantrums in children with OCD may be tied to depression.

According to a News Medical report online, British researchers reviewed data for over 380 patients receiving treatment from a pediatric clinic specializing in OCD between the years 2005 and 2011. They also examined information collected in the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Surveys from 1999 and 2004, which included health information for over 18,000 children, 40 of whom had OCD.

Both the clinical and community data supported the fact that children with OCD were more likely to have temper outbursts than children without the disorder. Considering reports of tantrums logged by both children and their parents, 28.6 percent of kids with OCD admitted to outbursts as opposed to only 11.7 percent of their non-OCD peers.

Meanwhile, numbers were also higher from the parental viewpoint with 38.5 percent of parents reporting outbursts for their kids with OCD as compared to only 11.3 percent of parents whose children did not have OCD.

Interestingly, severity of disorder was not a factor in determining outbursts. However, depression symptoms were found to be a predictor of tantrums. Children diagnosed with clinical depression did experience more outbursts than children without the diagnosis. This was true for both reports made by parents and children.

Perhaps the most significant finding was that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was able to reduce the likelihood of outbursts in children with OCD. Treatment also minimized the symptoms of OCD and depression in affected children.

Family Guidance Center is an excellent community resource for addressing concerns with childhood mental health. If you are a parent concerned about outbursts or think your child might have OCD or depression, it’s never too early to look into a professional assessment. The team of mental health professionals at Family Guidance Center can assist in identifying symptoms and developing a plan that addresses both emotional and social aspects of mental health. For more information, contact Family Guidance Center.