Tha answer of "ask the experst section"

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Posted by maddmaxx on May 7, 2002:
In Reply to: Reassurance, anxiety, worry....OCD posted by John 16's Mom on May 6, 2002:

Hi, I suffer with OCD related to Pedophilia since October. I'm under Zoloft and CBT. My last symptom made me doubt about the fact that it's not only OCD and caused me break down (watching naked little girls naked on Internet caused me arousal, even if I don't feel attracted by them in real life). I've wrote you several times. You said that "asking for reassurance" is a mark of OCD. Is "asking for reassurance again and again" enough to be sure it's OCD? I'm wondering: what if a Pedophile also ask for reassurance because he feels guilty? Why can't I stop asking for reassurance over and over? ==> Laurent

Laurent: The best thing to do is to seek a mental health professional for a face-to-face evaluation. It is difficult to make a diagnosis using a forum such as this because of how much information is needed to be certain.

Jon Abramowitz, Ph.D. [[email protected]]
Clinical Psychologist, Mayo Clinic

If you have written several times and the answers you have gotten have been that seeking reassurance is a mark of OCD then it is a reasonable conclusion that it is seen as a mark of OCD. As you may have noticed I answer a lot of these questions and may have answered you before and may have written something about the reassurance seeking nature of your questions. This particular question is trying to get the same reassurance in a slightly different way. In part you are saying can we reassure you that you have OCD and are not a pedophile. Think about this for a minute, how could we possibly know for sure what you are. Experts write here over and over that we can't make a diagnosis in this format.

The question of why you "can't" stop asking for reassurance is interesting. I would suggest you can stop but don't because some of the answers you get reduce your anxiety. One of the paradoxes for those of us who answer questions here is that we all know that giving reassurance actually contributes to the problem in OCD and does not really help. How are we to respond to questions like yours. If we give you reassurance it will make you feel better for a little while but reinforce asking for reassurance. If we spot what you are doing and call it compulsive reassurance seeking you come back with a variation on the question.

You say you are getting CBT for your OCD. What has your therapist advised you regarding this seeking of reassurance and repeated questions. If you were my patient one thing I would want to do is tell you to stop asking and tell those around you to not answer.

J. Claiborn Ph.D., ABPP [[email protected]]

Laurent: OCD is often called the "doubting disease" for exactly the reasons your inquiry highlights. I would encourage you to discuss your concerns directly with your therapist and come up with a strategy for dealing with the reassurance issue you identify. Best wishes.

Thomas H. Styron, Ph.D. [[email protected]]

>>  John 16's Mom

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