Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Although obsessions are rare in individuals with Down syndrome, compulsive behaviors occur quite often. Some compulsive behaviors, such as manipulating straws or stuffed animals, are relatively harmless. Others, such as hair-pulling or continual hand-rubbing, can cause damage to the hair or skin. Compulsive behaviors can also endanger the teen with Down syndrome or others in the environment, if they involve kitchen appliances, tying rope, or other unsafe behaviors. Standard medications for OCD have been used successfully in teens with Down syndrome.

Compulsive behaviors are to be expected as a normal part of Down syndrome, and it’s always best to use selective ignoring when the adolescent acts compulsively.