Inside the Therapy Room: Children Fighting Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

"Primetime: Family Secrets" goes inside lives of children who suffer from OCD.

ByABC News
July 30, 2009, 3:54 PM

July 30, 2009— -- Fifteen-year-old Bridget cannot hug her own parents. Just sitting on the same couch as them leads her to start twisting, turning and screeching. She fears they are somehow "contaminated" and it has forced her to stop living at home. Rocco, age 9, dissolves into tears whenever he tries to leave for school because he's consumed by the anxiety of what could happen once he leaves the house. He asks his mother over and over for reassurance that never puts him at ease. Why are these children paralyzed by endless worrying?

They have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a brain condition that causes irrational compulsions. And they aren't alone. Doctors say about one million children in the U.S. suffer from OCD.

While many people often joke they have some form of the disorder, "Primetime: Family Secrets" takes a rare look inside the lives of the children who are truly suffering from OCD and reveals something far more crushing than most of us could ever imagine. David Muir reports on "Primetime: Family Secrets," TUESDAY, AUGUST 4 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Many OCD children suffer silently both from the fear and the stigma that comes with having the disorder. But as "Primetime" reports, there is new hope because of ground-breaking science and intensive behavioral therapy.

Muir spent nearly a year following the lives of these kids, with unprecedented access to their treatment. Can they triumph over the disorder that consumes their lives and disrupts their entire families? Have doctors really found what they consider a groundbreaking cure?