Obsessive compulsive disorder, or “OCD,” is a psychological issue affecting millions of children and adults. It is best described as the existence of persistent thoughts that cause anxiety (obsessions), followed by a behavior to test or reduce those thoughts (compulsions).
Many obsessions trigger fears about oneself. For example, someone that has persistent thoughts about violence may fear they are a sociopath or violent person. Someone with persistent thoughts about contamination may fear that they are going to get sick. All of these become persistent thoughts that lead to stress and anxiety.
An obsession that tends to cause a significant amount of life altering distress is sometimes called “POCD.” It refers to pedophilia based obsessive compulsive disorder, and refers to people that have persistent, recurring thoughts about sex with children that causes them a lot of distress. They may start to worry that they are a pedophile, and experience fear that they may someday act on it.
Are Those with POCD Actually Pedophiles?
Men and women that suffer from POCD are not pedophiles, nor are they attracted to children. Even though they may have sexual thoughts about young children, the thoughts themselves are not caused by attraction. Rather, they are caused by fear.
It can be hard for those with POCD to recognize that they are not pedophiles because POCD tends to come with “checking” compulsions. The person performs behaviors to check to see if they are attracted to children. They may:
- Purposefully imagine sexual situations with children.
- Peek at children to see if attraction develops.
- In rare cases they may even view child pornography.
Unfortunately, these behaviors often reinforce their fear that they are pedophiles. They may even find their feelings reinforced by finding themselves attracted to a young adult (often of high school age).
How Can You Tell It is POCD?
The primary difference between POCD and pedophilia is that the person with POCD feels shame. Pedophiles generally recognize and understand their attraction, and have accepted it (even if society does not accept them). Adults with POCD are afraid of being pedophiles.
People suffering from POCD also usually have no problems finding themselves attracted to adults. Pedophiles tend to be more attracted to children the younger they are. Adults with POCD are less attracted to children the younger they are, and the idea tends to cause shame and disgust more and more.
It’s Okay to Seek Help – POCD Treatment from Dr. Leigh Anne Randa
POCD is an especially challenging form of OCD, because there is a significant fear of being judged. As an OCD specialized, Dr. Randa recognizes that POCD is a real problem, and she creates a judgement free environment where you can talk about your struggles and work towards a solution all in a way that protects your privacy.
Based in Kansas City, MO, Dr. Randa is here to help you overcome your POCD and experience less shame and stress. For more information, or to get started, please call 858.224.3767 today.