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National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents: A Guide

by Hugh F. Johnston, M.D., and J. Jay Fruehling


Review by Harriet Baldwin, NAMI Literature Committee
Long-time readers of publications about serious mental illness are familiar with the information centers affiliated with the department of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin and their publications, which are authoritative, succinct, clearly organized, readable, and low-cost.

An introductory chapter in this guide defines obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and describes it in four case studies. The remainder of the book is mainly in question-and-answer format. Two chapters answer general questions about OCD in children and their schooling. A chapter on treatments discusses behavioral therapy and medication therapy, and the final chapter deals with this disorder and the family. A concluding section suggests readings and includes two summary tables and charts that may help with treatment. This 58-page book is a companion to another publication of the Obsessive Compulsive Information Center, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Guide (1997, 65 pages, $4.50) by John H. Greist, which deals with the disorder in adults. OCD in children and adolescents is similar to OCD in adults.

The Johnston and Fruehling guide is a comprehensive introduction to obsessive-compulsive disorder for parents who are beginning to learn about the illness. At the same time, it will help parents who have been reading here and there to think systematically about OCD. The authors state clearly that the disorder cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be treated, most effectively by a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. The chapter on medication describes various drugs that can be used with children and adolescents in terms of their effects on brain functioning, symptom control, and side effects. The book is attuned to the difficulties families of OCD children face, and every page contains helpful suggestions for coping.

We recommend this book without reservation. It can be purchased directly from:
Obsessive Compulsive Information Center
Madison Institute of Medicine
7617 Mineral Point Road, Suite 300
Madison, WI 53717
608-827-2470.
The price is $6.95 ($4.95 plus $2.00 postage).

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