Case #2
Anxiety disorder, OCD, or something else?

8-year-old black male



Tyrel is an 8-year-old black male who is brought in by his mother for a variety of psychiatric complaints. Shaquana, Tyrel’s mother, reports that Tyrel has been exhibiting a lot of worry and “nervousness” over the past 2 months. She states that she notices that he has been quite “keyed up” and spends a great deal of time worrying about “germs.” She states that he is constantly washing his hands because he feels as though he is going to get sick like he did a few weeks ago, which kept him both out of school and off the playground. He was also not able to see his father for two weekends because of being sick. Shaquana explains that although she and her ex-husband Desmond divorced about 2 years ago, their divorce was amicable and they both endeavor to see that Tyrel is well cared for.

Shaquana reports that Tyrel is irritable at times and has also had some sleep disturbances (which she reports as “trouble staying asleep”). She reports that he has been more and more difficult to get to school as he has become nervous around his classmates. He has missed about 8 days over the course of the last 3 weeks. He has also stopped playing with his best friend from across the street.

His mother reports that she feels “responsible” for his current symptoms. She explains that after he was sick with strep throat a few weeks ago, she encouraged him to be more careful about washing his hands after playing with other children, handling things that did not belong to him, and especially before eating. She continues by saying “maybe if I didn’t make such a big deal about it, he would not be obsessed with germs.”

Per Shaquana, her pregnancy with Tyrel was uncomplicated, and Tyrel has met all developmental milestones on time. He has had an uneventful medical history and is current on all immunizations.


During your assessment of Tyrel, he seems cautious being around you. He warms a bit as you discuss school, his friends at school, and what he likes to do. He admits that he has been feeling “nervous” lately, but when you question him as to why, he simply shrugs his shoulders.

When you discuss his handwashing with him, he tells you that “handwashing is the best way to keep from getting sick.” When you question him how many times a day he washes his hands, he again shrugs his shoulders. You can see that his bilateral hands are dry. Throughout your assessment, Tyrel reveals that he has been thinking of how dirty his hands are; and no matter how hard he tries to stop thinking about his “dirty” hands, he is unable to do so. He reports that he gets “really nervous” and “scared” that he will get sick, and that the only way to make himself feel better is to wash his hands. He reports that it does work for a while and that he feels “better” after he washes his hands, but then a little while later, he will begin thinking “did I wash my hands well enough? What if I missed an area?” He reports that he can feel himself getting more and more “scared” until he washes his hands again.


Tyrel is alert and oriented to all spheres. Eye contact varies throughout the clinical interview. He reports his mood as “good,” admits to anxiety. Affect consistent to self-reported mood. He denies visual/auditory hallucinations. No overt delusional or paranoid thought processes were apparent. He denies suicidal ideation.

Lab studies obtained from Tyrel’s pediatric nurse practitioner were all within normal parameters. An antistreptolysin O antibody titer was obtained for reasons you are unclear of, and this titer was shown to be above normal parameters.

Decision Point One
In your write-up of this case, be certain to link specific symptoms presented in the case to DSM–5 criteria to support your diagnosis.

 Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
 Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
 Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (“PANDAS”)