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In a recent Dear Abby column, a reader writes:

I’m 13 and I’m afraid I may have OCD. I want to find out, but what’s standing in my way is that sometimes my parents think I make stuff up to get attention.

While Abby’s advice for the reader to just overcome his or her fears and talk to the parents wasn’t wrong, it also wasn’t very complete.  Unfortunately, sometimes talking to your parents isn’t enough to get the help you need.

So, what can you do?  We recently asked Dr. Fred Penzel what advice he could offer to teens who think they have OCD, but whose parents aren’t convinced.  Dr. Penzel writes:

While I don’t believe that this happens in every home, I have a hunch that situations like this happen a lot more than we would like them to. Someone once said, “The only thing worse than having OCD is having OCD alone… No one wants to think that his or her child has a problem, much less a psychological one… Some parents find it so unthinkable that they resort to denial, figuring that if they act like they don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

Read Dr. Penzel’s full article in your copy of the Winter 2014/2015 issue of the OCD Newsletter or online here.


  • David Grün

    I’m a confirmed OCD patient and I suffered from it a lot, for many years I’ve been trying to overcome that and it got better but still can’t be overwhelmed. My parents and teachers, friends… almost everyone around me don’t believe that I got this kind of problem. I was so disappointed and thought I was the only one who had the problem… not until I went to date the doctor when I was severely disabled by OCD did I realize that I wasn’t alone, and, there’s even a website for those who’s resisting with it. I just want to tell those people who’s got the similar symptoms to date with a doctor so they may get treated earlier.

  • Mel

    I’m from Indonesia. My society doesn’t familiar at all with any kind of mental disorder. I learn that I have OCD by searching through the internet and finally figure out that I probably suffer with it. I sometimes scare that cathastropic things might happen. I currently leave in Balikpapan, East Borneo. My apartment is close to the beach. Sometimes, I feel that tsunami will happen and I get very anxious and scare about it. One night, when there was storm and thunder, I cannot sleep and because I scare that tsunami might happen, I woke up my neighbour just to brought his laptop and search in the internet about the possibility that tsunami might happen in Balikpapan. I also get freak out every time I have to travel with plane. Its like every time I travel with plane, I have to prepare to die because there always a possibility that the plane will fall or crush. In a bad weather, i feel very very sick and just like I’m going to die when i have to travel with plane because in my stupid thoughts plane my easily fall in bad weather. My hometown is in Manado and its one and half hours travel by plane to Balikpapan, recent place that I live right now. One month ago, i purpose my resignantion to the company i work because i plan to continue my study, but my proposition of resignation is mostly because i cannot take the pressure from the office. One week before my last day, I get hospitalized because of gastritis. When i finally discharge from the hospital, i continually think that i might get heart disease. I already got ECG two times and consult with an internist. The doctor says that I didn’t have any symptoms of heart disease. He says that i have a obsesive compulsive behaviour and give me drugs name clobazam. I now its a medication for make me relax. I get sleepy everytime i take that pill. But that’s all. Every time i woke up, i still scare to go to bathroom alone because my brain says that i probably will got heart attack if i do too much activity and my body even reacts to reassure that my brain its right. When i get really anxious or even when i’m not or when the silly thoughts coming, after i go to the bathroom, my heart will racing so fast, my palm and my feet with get sweaty and i think i might gonna day for heart attack. Sometimes my chest feels really hurt, but my parents and even the doctor that previously taking care of me at hospital says its because of my gastritis acid. I now its true, because i have a cronic gastritis disease since i was in high school. But I really really wanna get rid the thoughts that i might suffer from heart disease and might got heart attack every time i want to go to bathroom. I constantly counting my heart bit per minutes and really really scare every time i walk to the bathroom and my heart bit so fast. For more than two weeks now, the things that i do just sleep, eat and get the scare feeling that I’m going to die because of heart attack if I go the bathroom or doing too many activities. I’m affraid of walking, I’m affraid of taking a bath, actually I’m affraid of doing anything because I think i will get heart attack if I dont just sleep and get enough rest. My dad is suffer for heart disease for more than ten years. I’m growing up with all the information about that disease and now, even though I now it is really stupid and silly, when the thoughts hits my head, I suffer with the feeling that I’m going to die from heart attack, that my doctor probably miss-read the EKG/ECG and I actually really suffer from heart disease. I will be unemployment soon and my parents always remind me to erase all the negative thoughts in my head. I now how much my family love me, but they didn’t now how much I struggle to battle with all the stupid thoughts that I, while i’m not nervous, know it was silly. Since my childhood, i suffer with all of those thoughts alone because I know if i tell other people, they will think that i’m crazy, consider the social and cultural condition of my country. Please help me. I really want to overcome this. I want to have a normal life. I have so many things that I want to achive in my life. During all of this years, I could manage all that thoughts, but recently, I dont think i can do this anymore. Please help me. I cannot go to the therapist since I dont have enough money. I know my parents can afford a therapist, but they absolutely would not want to. For them, I have to atruggle to erase it alone. I’m the only person that can heal myself, no one can and for me to go to a therapist will humiliate the entire family and they consider it as wasting money. Please, help me. I dont wanna be scared anymore. I know my family love me, but they dont understand.

  • CT

    This could be considered irrelevant, but I’m afraid to tell my parents because what if they don’t believe me? Plus, how do I tell my parents? And also, what if I don’t have OCD and there’s something else wrong with me? I know the things I do aren’t normal, but I’m afraid I’m overreacting, too. And I don’t know how to get help. I’m only ten, so I don’t have access to many websites. I don’t have my own phone. I can’t email. The only way I can think of to get help is to call on our home phone, but I’m afraid that I’ll ge tin trouble for that. Isn’t that wrong? I can’t ask them if I can call iocdf. They’ll ask me all kinds of questions that I can’t answer. I need help. I s anyone there?


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