After noticing that 10-year-old Ashton* would repeatedly ask his parents who would be collecting him from school each day, his school principal realised there might be an issue. Ashton was experiencing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
It all began when Ashton suffered a bout of travel sickness and things quickly spiralled out of control. He was terrified of being sick again and completely preoccupied with the idea. It became so severe that he was refusing to eat certain things. If bread or milk had been left out for even a short time, he would worry it would make him sick. He began compulsive handwashing, and his hands became red raw as a result.
At Ashton’s school, a student was sick, and he refused to wear any of the clothes he had worn that day – or any clothes that had touched them, even after they had been washed. He also refused to eat the foods the student had eaten that day.