Homosexual OCD (hOCD)
What is Homosexual OCD ?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can affect people from all walks of life, creating obsessive, intrusive thoughts that lead to the development of compulsive behaviors to neutralize anxiety. Our culture often portrays OCD only as a mental health condition that causes people to compulsively wash their hands or check the locks; however, OCD can actually present in unexpected ways, including the presence of obsessions about homosexuality, also known as Homosexual OCD (hOCD). Homosexual OCD is type of obsessive-compulsive disorder that causes someone to doubt their sexual orientation and leaves them questioning whether or not they are attracted to the same sex. Homosexual OCD can also cause heterosexuals to doubt their sexuality and create the obsessive fear of never forming a loving relationship with a partner or spouse due to their fear that they may be, in fact, gay. hOCD can cause a person to doubt themselves to the point where he or she starts questioning whether or to leave a relationship or marriage. For those that suffer from hOCD and also have a religious background, they can also feel they are deeply sinful for having these intrusive thoughts and fears, which can lead to obsessions regarding scrupulosity.
Some common symptoms of hOCD include:
- Persistent fears of being gay
- Doubting one’s sexuality (sexual orientation)
- Unwanted sexual thoughts and images about persons of the same sex
- Fear of sending out the wrong “signals” to same sex
- Fearing that you are attracted to the same sex
- Obsessing about “what if I am gay?”
- Fear of losing or ruining your current relationship because you might want to be with someone of the same sex
Some common compulsions experienced with hOCD include the following:
- Avoiding triggering situations (interacting with either heterosexuals/gay people)
- Constantly reassuring oneself about sexual orientation
- Checking to see if you are attracted to the opposite sex; checking for physical arousal
- Having sex to “test” that you aren’t attracted to the opposite sex
- Repressing unwanted heterosexual/homosexual thoughts
- Avoiding the gender that causes you anxiety or fear that makes you doubt your sexuality
- Repeating an action because you fear you might have done it in a way to portray that you are heterosexual/gay (ex. A heterosexual man getting up and sitting back down because he fears that he sat down in a “homosexual” manner)
Treatment for Homosexual OCD
People suffering from Homosexual OCD are encouraged to seek treatment from a mental health treatment provider that specializes in the treatment of OCD. OCD specialists are equipped and prepared to treat a wide array of OCD subtypes, including Homosexual OCD . Like all types of OCD, Homosexual OCD can be treated with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specifically with treatment approaches called Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP), and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
Mindful-Based CBT teaches patients that everyone experiences intrusive thoughts. Individuals will also learn that intrusive thoughts have no power over them and that by responding to their thoughts through compulsive behaviors, their thoughts are given more strength and credibility and their fears and obsessions are strengthened and reinforced. Mindfulness-Based CBT is a very effective OCD treatment, especially when combined with ERP.
ERP exposes patients to situations related to their intrusive thoughts that cause them anxiety. The goal of this treatment is for the patient to prevent himself or herself from completing their compulsive behaviors when triggered by intrusive thoughts. The situations that are confronted will intensify over time, until the patient can face and overcome their most feared scenario. Once they are able to stop themselves from responding to their intrusive thoughts with compulsive behaviors, they can experience tremendous relief from the symptoms of OCD.
If patients are suffering from severe levels of anxiety due to their OCD, they may benefit from participating in treatment at an Intensive Outpatient (IOP) OCD treatment program, as is offered by The Gateway Institute. The Gateway Institute offers Intensive Outpatient treatment options as well as regular outpatient psychotherapy sessions, and a free, 30 minute face-to-face consultation with one of our experienced and caring clinicians at all three of our beautiful locations in Orange County, Scottsdale, Arizona, and the San Francisco Bay Area. OCD symptoms typically worsen over time and can take over a person’s life, so it is very important to seek OCD treatment as soon as possible with a skilled and dedicated OCD specialist who can provide expertise and support during this journey.
Other Common OCD Sub-Types
It is not uncommon for an individual suffering from one OCD sub-type to also suffer from other sub-types. Treating co-occurring sub-types simultaneously is important in finding balance and healing from OCD.
The Gateway Institute is here to support you in getting the help that you need.
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