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Ask Dr. Y. Vasavada Your Own Question
Dr. Y. Vasavada
Dr. Y. Vasavada, Pediatrician
Category: Paediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 3257
Experience:  M.D.(ped) passed at first attempt, in practice continuously for last 37 years. Certi. in Comp
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My son, age 6, middle one of 3 children, seems to suffer from

Customer Question

My son, age 6, middle one of 3 children, seems to suffer from anxieties and ticks/compulsions. He needs one of us (parents) to be around while he falls asleep, and then in the night comes to our bed because he is scared - of being "alone" (he shares his bedroom with his younger brother and his older sister is right next door; all bedroom doors are open, and there are night lights in every room. We have tried taking him back to his room - he only comes back half an hour later; we tried to ask him what the problem is and answer all his questions and explain everything and reassure him - but nothing works... Also, he sleeps not very peacefully, he throws himself around the bed throughout the night and often talks in his sleep. It almost seems like his brain can´t cope with too many stimuli.
On top of that he has developped ticks, or compulsions, over the past couple of years: first it was nail biting, then obsessive hand washing, then licking of hands/arms (he woulod get sores on his wrists and around his mouth), then the washing again and being scared of bacteria (again we've explained that certain amout of bacteria is actually necessary etc...). It seems to come and go in waves. Mostly when he is worried about something or when he is bored (i.e. during holidays; while he goes to kindergarten and school it got better). He has a brain like a sponge and is learning new things every day, he has an amazing memory and is extremely intelligent.
He has been visiting a psychologist once a month for the last few months but so far nothing has changes, I assume the dr is only getting to know him.
How can we help our son??? (Btw, we have been very careful not to treat him like the "usual" middle child and have tried ti give the same amount of attention to all three kids.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Paediatrics
Expert:  Dr. Y. Vasavada replied 2 years ago.
Hello, Sorry about this issue of tics and OCD. If he is sleep deprived then these will be aggravated during day. Please help him stay well rested at night by using melatonin, a brain hormone naturally secreted, for assisting sleep as night dose, starting low. If OCD be severe, prescription drug therapy is helpful to be used during day time also. Also try rewards to help him learn to control his impulses.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

He doesn´t seem tired in the mornings or agitated during the day, it just seems like there is a lot going on in his head, even at night, and it worries me that he has fears/anxieties and is unable to tell us what these are, and he wakes up and comes to us. Perhaps it is partially also a habit. I want him to be able to stay in his bed and not be afraid.

As for the positive reinforcement, but this brings little. It seems that only when his brain is stimulated enough (by learning/school/reading/listening etc) the OCD gets better, however watching TV or playing computer games makes it worse.

I guess what I was hoping was for some advice on what I, as a parent (doctors/medication/psychotherapy aside) can do to help him deal with all of this.

I was hoping not to use medication at such a young age...

Expert:  Dr. Y. Vasavada replied 2 years ago.
Most children this age can be helped by merely talking to them and empathy. Some part of the problem they have to solve themselves, though. Part of growing up. There can hardly be any 1,2,3, steps as solution. Each day is different to them and so only general sypathetic attitude from parent, and understanding ear are the way.
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