Depression – OCD – tantrum connection

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Children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) commonly experience tantrums and emotional outbursts associated with depression.

In a new report, Georgina Krebs of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can significantly reduce the number and severity of emotional outbursts as well as other OCD and depressive symptoms in children.

Data from pediatric OCD clinic and community sampling

The findings were based on data culled from 387 patients referred to a specialized clinic for pediatric OCD. A community sample was also used of 18,415 children from the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Surveys of 1999 and 2004. Within that sample, 40 children were diagnosed with OCD.

Temper outbursts common among children with OCD

Temper outbursts were assessed using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. In the clinic sample, 38.5 percent of the children reported tantrums, while 43.5 percent of the parents reported such behavior.

In the community sample, 28.6 percent of children with OCD reported emotional tantrums, while 38.5 percent of the parents stated the same. Children with OCD had tantrums significantly more than children without OCD, 28.6 percent compared to 11.7 percent.

Depression a predictor of tantrums in OCD kids

Temper outbursts were easily predicted by high scores on the Beck Depression Inventory for Youth. In the clinical sample, children who were depressed were more at risk for emotional outbursts at 29.1 percent. The severity of the OCD symptoms did not provide a significant indicator for tantrums.

CBT significantly reduced tantrums

Once CBT was administered to the children, tantrums decreased by 61 percent in children's reports and 35 percent in parents' reports.

“This study offers empirical evidence that temper outbursts are common in youth with OCD and that they are particularly associated with depressed mood,” said Krebs. “Importantly they improve with treatment and do not seem to influence the outcome of CBT for OCD.”

Source: News-Medical

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