When the ladybug has to count her spots

December 1, 2011
When the ladybug has to count her spots
This is a screenshot cover of "Ricky and the Spider." Credit: picture: Huber Nathalie

About two percent of all children suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which consists of obsessive thoughts and acts. Obsessive thoughts are intrusive thoughts such as fear or contamination, injury or violent notions that are perceived to be pointless or distressing. Obsessive acts are ritualized acts that have to be repeated frequently, such as washing one's hands, asking questions, counting, touching, checking or collecting. Without treatment, OCD often has serious consequences, such as children no longer being able to go to school on account of their symptoms.

Game supports psychotherapists

Nowadays, , possibly supplemented with medication, is considered to be the most reliable method of treating in children. To help with evidence-based OCD treatment, the Center of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Zurich has developed the "Ricky and the Spider". The game incorporates the key treatment elements of the cognitive-behavioral approach and makes it easier for children to understand the disorder, its consequences and the treatment.

Ladybug has to count dots

In the game, a spider forces Ricky the Grasshopper and Lisa the Ladybug to do things they do not really want to do. For instance, Ricky is only allowed to hop across the meadow in a particular pattern and Lisa has to count the spots on her wings every evening before she goes to sleep. Fearing the spider, they become entangled deeper and deeper in OCD's web. In the end, Ricky asks Dr. Owl for help.

Distribution of treatment

Veronika Brezinka, who devised the game, hopes that it will help evidence-based treatments to spread beyond the university. "The game is designed to encourage affected children to confront their OCD and help psychotherapists to treat the disorder," explains Brezinka. Much like the computer game "Treasure Hunt", which was developed at the Center of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry three years ago, "Ricky and the Spider" is not a self-help game, but rather a professional tool and should only be used for the purposes of psychotherapeutic treatment.

Explore further: Researchers find new way to examine major depressive disorder in children

Related Stories

Researchers find new way to examine major depressive disorder in children

May 10, 2011
A landmark study by scientists at Wayne State University published in the May 6, 2011, issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, the most prestigious journal in the field, has revealed a new way to distinguish children with ...

New research provides insight into how obsessive-compulsive disorder develops

May 23, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- New scientific evidence challenges a popular conception that behaviours such as repetitive hand-washing, characteristic of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), are carried out in response to disturbing ...

Recommended for you

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

New study suggests that reduced insurance coverage for mental health treatment increases costs for the seriously ill

July 19, 2017
Higher out-of-pocket costs for mental health care could have the unintended consequence of increasing the use of acute and involuntary mental health care among those suffering from the most debilitating disorders, a Harvard ...

Old antibiotic could form new depression treatment

July 19, 2017
An antibiotic used mostly to treat acne has been found to improve the quality of life for people with major depression, in a world-first clinical trial conducted at Deakin University.

Wonder why those happy memories fade? You're programmed that way

July 19, 2017
We'll always have Paris." Or will we?

A child's spoken vocabulary helps them when it comes to reading new words for the first time

July 19, 2017
Children find it easier to spell a word when they've already heard it spoken, a new study led by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) at Macquarie University has found. The findings ...

Individualistic practices and values increasing around the world

July 18, 2017
Individualism is thought to be on the rise in Western countries, but new research suggests that increasing individualism may actually be a global phenomenon. The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.