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Obsessions and compulsions across time in 79 children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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  • 1Child Psychiatry Branch, NIMH, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Individual symptoms of 79 children and adolescents with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder were obtained from chart review of at least two in-persons evaluations and recorded across an average of 7.9 years (range, 2 to 16). Symptoms were grouped according to the categories of the Yale-Brown Symptom Checklist. No significant age related trends were found with any one type of symptom, although patients with a very early onset of illness (less than 6 years old) were more likely to have compulsions than obsessions. Across the study period, patients reported symptoms from many different symptom categories, with 47% of the patients displaying both washing and checking compulsions at some time during their illness. No patient maintained the same constellation of symptoms from presentation to follow-up. These data support the concept of obsessive-compulsive disorder as an illness with varied clinical manifestations that individually change over time.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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