The torment of obsession;Books

23rd April 1999 at 01:00
THOUGHTS TO OBSESSIONS: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents. Per Hove Thomsen. Jessica Kingsley pound;13.95.

Per Hove Thomsen's brief, clear and accurate book places Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a condition that is still poorly understood and often missed in young people, within a spectrum, reassuring those of us who check that the car is locked seconds after we locked it that our behaviour is perfectly normal.

More seriously, it acknowledges the torment experienced by the children and adolescents who are suffering from the disorder, as well as their families. As Thomsen says, it is important to see that the young person is the victim of an illness, which needs treatment. The book describes the illness in a way that is accessible to a wide audience of parents, teenagers and teachers.

The numerous case studies will help to reduce young people's sense of isolation, and increase their understanding of their condition. Thomsen keeps psychiatric jargon to a minimum and carefully explains the terms that he does use. His emphasis on the disturbing thoughts that victims suffer is particularly helpful and likely to reduce the fear of insanity that is often a great burden to them.

The writer is a clinical childpsychologist

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