There’s a new outpatient program at Seattle Children’s treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The program opened in July and early graduates have had life-changing results.
“It’s exciting because it’s a service that previously has not been available (at Seattle Children's)," said Dr. Geoffrey Wiegand of Seattle Children's.
Kids are generally in the program for four to six weeks.
One of the first graduates was a girl named Eva Tomassini. Tomassini had failed other treatment options and was really hoping to find something that helped her out. Since she was four she fought the most severe cases of anxiety. She never used to go outside because she feared she’d run away, or jump in front of a vehicle. She hung onto everything, never throwing much away. The program made her face all those fears and after graduating, her family they’ve noticed a life changing difference.
“I did things that I never thought I would have to do. I did things that I never really wanted to do,” Eva said. “It really pushed my limits.”
“Whenever there’s something that makes me uncomfortable I think would Doctor Wiegand make me do it, and if the answer is yes, then I do it. Because his rule is if you do want to do something, than you have to do it,” Dr. Wiegand said. “You have to do things that scare you. You have to do things that push your limits, because that’s what keeps your OCD away.”
“OCD isn’t what a lot of people think it is, it’s not just handwashing or rearranging items, it can get severe enough to really shut down your daily life,” Eva’s mom Earlyn said. “Today Eva, she wakes up in the morning and she doesn’t have that feeling that the day is going to bring her something that she can’t handle.”
“One of the things we tell them is they accomplished a rare feat,” Dr. Wiegand said. “Not a lot of adults could say they’ve made a list of everything they’re afraid of and crushed every one of their fears in the process, and that’s effectively what these kids have done.”
Dr. Wiegand is proud to see the progress has already made.
“I think her parents would say that she got her life back and they got their life back in the process,” Dr. Wiegand said with a smile.
If you have a child dealing with OCD please contact the Seattle Children’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine team at 206-987-2164.
CLARIFICATION: The text above has been updated to remove incorrect language about where patients had to go to get this treatment before it was offered at Seattle Children's.