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Pediatric OCD in the News: 'A Darkness Has Overtaken Me' - featured October 11, 2011

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[Source: CNN]

Alissa Welker would switch the lights on, off, on, off, on, off -- however many times it took to feel "right." When she was 9, she'd spend the equivalent of an adult workday doing these kinds of rituals. She also washed her hands excessively, avoided sick people and barely ate because she feared food poisoning.

Mystery Almond has also felt that she needed to wash her hands more than most people, to the point that her classmates picked on her. She would see words spelled out in her head -- "like reading a book" -- telling her to do things, like hitting a girl in second grade who taunted her for obsessing over hand washing.

Alissa, 17, and Mystery, 10, have different symptoms, but they both have had feelings of needing to act in certain ways that are out of the ordinary, as well as intense fears. These are signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is thought to affect 1 in 100 kids, according to the International OCD Foundation.

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Tags: School Psychology News of the Week Newsletter 14 October 2011