Montana girl, 8, is suffering crippling obsessive compulsive disorder that’s so bad she refuses to wear CLOTHES due to ‘static feel’ – as she travels 1,000 miles for ‘life-changing’ therapy

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • Claire Hamnes suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) which has got so bad that her family are having to consider residential care for her
  • The eight-year-old, from Billings in Montana, is set to undergo treatment at a facility over 1,000 miles away in Wisconsin
  • Her mom Nichole described her daughter as being ‘outgoing and funny’, but noted how she struggles to even get dressed due to static on her clothes

A young girl from Montana is set to travel over 1,000 miles for therapy to help her crippling OCD which has got so bad she finds it difficult putting on clothes. 

Claire Hamnes, 8, suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), and anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Mom Nichole said her daughter had started showing signs of OCD at a young age, resulting in her daughter being on medication and attending therapy sessions. 

Claire is one of an estimated 2.5 million Americans who struggle with OCD, with scientists still not clear on the actual cause of the disorder. 

Nichole described her daughter as being ‘outgoing and funny’, but noted how she struggles to even get dressed for school due to her clothes having too much static. 

Speaking to KPAX, Nichole told the outlet: ‘At her worst she couldn’t look at her clothes and how they were arranged.’

Claire Hamnes suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), and anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Claire’s father, Erik, said Claire describes the clothing as having too much static. 

Despite the current medication and therapy sessions, the family have been looking for further help with Claire. 

In July, Claire’s obsessions and anxiety had escalated to the point that Nichole and Erik considered residential treatment for her. 

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health condition where sufferers face persistent or unwanted thoughts.

They may also have compulsions, where they feel compelled to do something again and again, and obsessions, such as uncontrollable and recurring thoughts.

An estimated 2.5million Americans have OCD — of which half, or 1.25million, have a severe form.

Those in late adolescence, from 17 to 21 years old, are most at risk of developing the condition — but it can also emerge in childhood.

Scientists are not clear on the cause but say a combination of genetics, the brain and the environment are thought to be involved. 

Patients are treated using talking therapies — which focus on helping someone face their fears and obsessive thoughts without trying to ‘put them right’ — and via medication like antidepressants to shift the chemical structure in the brain.

There are two main types of the condition:

Mild OCD

This term refers to more mild symptoms of OCD — a condition which is thought to be relatively common and affects up to 30 percent of the population.

Patients have symptoms such as recurring thoughts on daily activities, like whether they locked the door, or mildly compulsive behaviors, like cleaning frequently.

Severe OCD

This refers to the intense form of the condition where compulsions and obsessions are so strong that they disrupt someone’s daily life.

Symptoms can include walking backward unexpectedly while walking with friends or having an obsession with cleanliness.

Patients may also have an obsessive need for symmetry and orderliness — such as having all tin labels facing forward.

The condition can be so bad that people find it difficult to perform daily activities like eating, drinking, shopping and reading. Some may even become housebound.

Patients often also have other health problems, such as depression and social anxiety. 

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Due to her age, pediatric OCD resources for children is extremely limited in the United States. 

‘Our state, and even some of the surrounding states, don’t have any real programs and there are really no other programs in this country that take children as young as her,’ Nichole said.

‘She started voicing a lot of concerns with sensory issues at about two and a half years old. 

‘It’s really hard to follow her rules because hers is ‘just right OCD’ and so, whatever her brain is telling her is just right is the rule we have to follow.’

‘There are some good days, and good moments. There are also some very challenging moments in-between.’

Nichole and Erik managed to find a residential treatment program called Rogers Behavioral Health in Wisconsin, which they hope will help Claire. 

The facility accepts children as young as eight, but when the family found the center this summer, Claire was still just seven. 

Nichole told KPAX that they had been told to contact the facility as soon as Claire turned eight, which was last month, and they would be put to the top of the list to receive treatment. 

Unfortunately, the family contacted the center as advised but have been told they will need to wait another two to three months until a spot opens up. 

Nichole said she would be driving to Wisconsin from their home in Billings, Montana, with her daughter, and will stay for the remainder of her treatment.

She said her daughter was ‘sad and mad’ when she found out she couldn’t go to Rogers Behavioral Health as early as originally thought. 

‘It’s six to eight weeks, but from what I’ve heard online from other parents their child has been there upwards of three and a half months.’ Nichole said. 

Insurance will cover the majority of Claire’s stay at the Rogers center but Nichole will have to fork out to stay near the facility to be with her daughter. 

As such, the family has launched a GoFundMe page to help them with funding the treatment. 

‘Due to Claire’s age and the severity of her obsessions, the hospital suggests having a parent be present throughout the entire program which is estimated to be 6-8 weeks long,’ a post to the fundraiser said.

After Claire completes the residential program, a transitional outpatient program lasting a number of weeks is highly recommended.

‘The family is looking at thousands of dollars in expenses on top of what they have already spent treating Claire’s and their own mental health.’

Nichole added: ‘The fact we don’t have these resources within our state is just devastating.’

Johns Hopkins define ODD as a type of behavior disorder that can make children uncooperative, defiant and hostile. 

The University also added that a child with ODD may argue a lot with adults or refuse to do what is asked of them. 

While children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention and controlling impulsive behaviors. 

Mom Nichole said her daughter had started showing signs of OCD at a young age, resulting in her daughter being on medication and attending therapy sessions

Mom Nichole said her daughter had started showing signs of OCD at a young age, resulting in her daughter being on medication and attending therapy sessions

Nichole and Erik, seen here with Claire and her brother, are hoping the residential care will help their daughter

Nichole and Erik, seen here with Claire and her brother, are hoping the residential care will help their daughter

People with ADHD have little control over these behaviors as they stem from underlying neurological differences.

ADHD can cause significant functional disability throughout the lifespan and in all areas of life, and without appropriate intervention can lead to significantly unfavorable outcomes.

However, with evidence-based treatment and support, people with ADHD can embrace their strengths and interests, learn to manage their challenges and live a full and rewarding life.

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