Reassurance Seeking, Just say NO!

I hope the new year finds you well and that your OCD gets weaker as every day goes on.  In my battle with OCD,  I have learned many things.  One of the most  important things that I have learned is to not seek reassurance.  For those of you with OCD, you know exactly what I am talking about.  Reassurance seeking is like a drug.  The more we get it the more we crave it.

For someone without OCD, the following example may help put it in perspective.  Imagine that a loved one is on a plane and that plane crashes.  The first thing you are most likely going to do is to try and  find out if they are okay.  If you can’t find out if they are okay right away, you will ask other people if they think your loved one is okay.   Odds are they will tell you “Yes, I am sure they are fine.”  This is reassurance seeking.  It will go on like this until you find out that your loved on is okay.

For people without OCD, reassurance seeking is not a big thing.  It is not something that non OCD people crave.  However, the same is not true for OCD people.

OCD people crave reassurance. It is part of the disease.  Something in our brain makes us seek reassurance.  A great example is something that I will do.  I am always afraid that my cats have gotten out the house in some way.  I used to ask my wife all the time if she was sure the cats were inside.  She would reassure me that they were.  This would make me feel better for a while, and then the dreaded, “What if??????”  I would then ask again and again.  This led me into an OCD loop.

Once my wife learned about OCD, she stopped reassuring me.  It was not a pleasant time for my OCD.  It had been found out.  Now instead of reassuring me, she will say, “Maybe the cats did get out, you are going to have to live with the uncertainty.”  In the short term this was a nightmare.  My anxiety level would spike, but over time, my brain is relearning how to deal with uncertainty.

As Nancy Reagan said about drugs in the 80?s, I now say about reassurance seeking, “JUST SAY NO!”

More tips for dealing with OCD to follow.

ocd self test
Do you or a loved one feel like you might have a problem with OCD? Take the Self Test now to get more information.

The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Click here to read our complete Terms of Use.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive mental health Information & Inspiration

Email Social