All forms of OCD are a huge source of distress, shame, and pain for its sufferers. But POCD could be one of the most debilitating and shameful for the sufferer. This type of OCD involves groundless fear of being a pedophile. Basically, one does not want to harm or molest children but is plagued with constant thoughts of the acts. You probably wonder how could a person agonize over these unacceptable thoughts if they don’t intend to do it in real life. In fact, that’s - their main worry – “what if I’m really a pedophile?” But the great contradiction of OCD as a disease is that it can create the most appalling obsessions about the people or things dread or care about the most. So, imagine how distressing it would be for a parent to be constantly bothered by unwanted thoughts of sexually harming his or her child.
Depression and suicidal thoughts are common among people with POCD. In contrast to patients with contamination fears, these people have such obsessions because they fear getting sick and eventually dying. In the case of POCD, often one would rather kill themselves than harm a child.
People with this type of OCD are the least likely to harm children.
It’s the form of OCD no one talks about or if they do, they do it in hushed tones. The sensitive issues surrounding the disorder and child sexual abuse being the worst crime a person can commit prompt sufferers to hide their condition and focus on their compulsions to prevent the vicious thoughts from happening. In reality, these sufferers are probably the ones you could trust most with a child. Even so, it scares uninformed people to hear such stories and they often think that people with those thoughts have probably something to hide.
Dr Hank is very familiar with this type of OCD, so misdiagnosis should be your least concern. We also stand behind the efficacy of exposure and ritual prevention therapy in treating SO-OCD as long as it is customized to the patient’s specific fears.
Just like other relatively less popular forms of OCD, Pedophile OCD is often misdiagnosed. In a recent study conducted on some members of the American Psychological Association (APA), 1 of 5 OCD symptom vignettes was assigned to each clinician for them to give a diagnostic impression thereafter. The sexual obsession vignette was misidentified by 42.9% participants – a third of them classified it as pedophilia. Other forms of OCD have comparatively lower misdiagnosis: 28.8% for religious obsessions and 15.8% for contamination obsessions. More than half of the participants had CBT training – 81.8% had a doctorate degree in psychology and 81.3% were licensed clinicians. It brings to question the capabilities of clinicians to identify POCD accurately and how likely are POCD patients to obtain proper diagnosis and treatment.
Glazier, K., Calixte, R., Rothschild, R., & Pinto, A. (2013). High rates of OCD symptom misidentification by mental health professionals. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 25(3), 201-209.
The shame and guilt that POCD sufferers experience are so intense they'd rather kill themselves than act out their obsessions. The stigma for this type of OCD is high and will probably remain so despite worldwide efforts to educate people about mental disorders. That's why it's important to find a therapist who has handled this type of OCD before and is well-trained to perform exposure and ritual prevention as POCD treatment. Dr. Hank, will tailor-fit our treatment method to your specific fears. We have helped numerous patients with the same concern and just like all forms of OCD, we strongly believe you can beat this dreaded illness.