People of all ages have had their mental health impacted by the novel coronavirus and the restrictions that have come as part of the efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, unlike adults, teenagers don’t have the same resources and know-how to manage their mental health, so it is up for parents to step in and help their troubled teens.
For teenagers who struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the coronavirus may trigger their OCD to a greater extent. If your teen is struggling with their OCD, there are steps you can take to help them, from cognitive-behavioral therapy to residential treatment.
Coordinate Care With Your Teen’s Therapist
One of the first and most important things you can do to help your teen manage their OCD is to work with a therapist who specializes in assisting high anxiety teenagers. Anxiety is a subset of OCD, so it is a good starting point. However, even more important is a therapist who provides therapeutic practices such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT is particularly effective for those struggling with OCD, as it focuses on strategies that allow teens to retrain their brains to ignore their obsessive-compulsive urges and intrusive thoughts. Working with a therapist, your teen can change their responses to their compulsive urges, assist with working through obsessive thoughts, and other strategies that may be effective for your teenager’s needs.
Along with one-on-one care, your teen’s therapist can recommend other resources to assist with the therapeutic process, from group therapy to recommendations to psychiatrists who can prescribe medication. Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are a common prescription treatment method to assist your teen as they work through their OCD triggers.
Other Steps To Reduce Teen’s Overall Anxiety
There are other steps you can take along with your teen’s therapeutic treatment to assist in reducing your teenager’s anxiety and to help manage their OCD.
Give your teen space to talk to you – Teens struggling with obsessive and intrusive thoughts can greatly benefit from talking through their thoughts, especially when utilizing de-escalation techniques that therapists teach. It can be tough as the parent to hear some of these thoughts, but it can help your teen reduce their intrusive behaviors and thoughts to have someone they can rely on.
Look into family therapy – As a family, it can be difficult to live with someone with OCD, and sometimes, well-intentioned actions and words can become misconstrued. To help navigate your teen’s OCD as a family, engaging in family therapy sessions can be incredibly helpful for everyone.
Help your teen set up a steady routine – Reliable routines are an excellent way to help reduce teens’ and adults’ OCD triggers. With a set schedule, it is easier to function around intrusive thoughts and behaviors, as it leaves less room for triggers.
However, sometimes these interventions are not enough for teens with severe cases of OCD, or teens who have comorbid conditions that make their treatment more difficult. In these cases, a therapeutic boarding school may be the best option to help your teenager.
Therapeutic Boarding Schools Can Assist Anxious, OCD Teens
As we mentioned, OCD is not only a subset of anxiety, but this disorder can also present with other mental health issues, ranging from depression to bipolar. For teenagers struggling with these issues, as well as potentially acting out as part of their distress, the safety and structure of a therapeutic boarding school can be an ideal environment.
At a therapeutic boarding school, struggling teens are provided with a high level of structure, from their day-to-day activities to focused and small classrooms. With weekly one-on-one work with their therapists, daily group therapy, and an emphasis on holistic healing, teens with OCD can thrive in a therapeutic boarding school.
Ideally, by taking steps now, your teen can gain a better handle on their OCD and enjoy a higher quality of life. However, if your teen does need further help then you can provide at home, you may want to consider a therapeutic boarding school.