Pedophilia OCD – Symptoms and Treatment
Pedophilia Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, also known as pOCD, is an extremely painful and shame-inducing form of OCD. The mere concept of pedophilia is a taboo topic within most cultures that no one wants to discuss, much less deal with. Unfortunately for those suffering from this form of OCD, they start to question themselves and their intentions around children.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a much broader and complicated condition that can be far more debilitating than one may think or that our popular culture conveys. The underlying symptoms of OCD typically fall into 4 primary categories:
- Contamination = cleaning/washing
- Doubt = checking/reassurance
- Symmetry = ordering/arranging
- Unacceptable = taboo/harmful thoughts
pOCD seems rare, but it isn’t.
What is Pedophilia OCD?
pOCD belongs to the fourth category, in which the patient suffers from extremely unwanted and intrusive thoughts about sexual orientation towards a child. It is important to note that individuals with Pedophilia OCD patients are not pedophiles. They do not in any way want to harm children and many reports that they would rather take their own life than to actually harm a child. There are, in fact, more cases of severe depression and suicide attempts among patients with pOCD.
What are the symptoms of pOCD?
pOCD is not very well known to the public. This may be in part because sufferers pOCD are crippled by denial or shame and fear of being judged or ridiculed because of their condition. pOCD is one of the most misidentified and misdiagnosed among all other psychological conditions.
Common pOCD Obsessions
Obsessions that are commonly experienced by people suffering from Pedophilia OCD include:
- Unwelcome thoughts and images of sexual acts with a child
- Unwelcome thoughts and images of a naked child
- Intrusive thoughts of having sexually molested a child
- Disruptive thoughts of having sexually abused or molested a child in the past and fear that one may be in denial or has forgotten, blacked out and erased the memory
- Having unwanted arousal sensations even with mere thoughts of a child’s company
Common Compulsions of Pedophilia OCD
Typical compulsions that are commonly related to Pedophilia OCD include:
- Avoidance of normal situations that involve even the most common and simplest physical contact with a child
- Avoidance of normal activities or duties towards children such as bathing, changing clothes or diapers, and other routine care-giving activities
- Avoidance of reading articles or watching shows that somehow depicts pedophilia, either explicitly or not
- Constantly asking for advice and reassurance from trusted loved ones regarding self-doubt and guilt.
- Always reviewing for subtle indicators or past events and encounters which may show a sign of a pedophilic behavior
Treatment for Pedophilia OCD
People suffering from Pedophilia 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 Pedophilia OCD. Like all types of OCD, Pedophilia 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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