(homosexual obsessive compulsive disorder) is a subgroup of Obsessive Compulsive
Disorder (OCD). It causes relentless questioning of one’s sexual orientation via
the intrusive thoughts that are characteristic of OCD. HOCD is also known as
Gay OCD or Sexual Orientation OCD (SO-OCD).
term HOCD is not a recognized scientific or diagnostic name. Instead, it is
more of a reference name or “title” that is used within the OCD community. This
term defines the mental anguish that comes from experiencing intrusive, unwanted
thoughts that you might be gay. If you have HOCD, these thoughts can come so
often that, over time, it can become unbearable.
of the frustration with HOCD is that, once the intrusive thoughts are
triggered, the person’s mind refuses to accept the reality that they have never
been attracted to the opposite sex before. They can try to convince themselves
that they are content with their straight orientation, but their OCD won’t
allow them to do so. Eventually, these thoughts can become intrusive enough to
make a person quit a job or leave a relationship because they are so convinced
that they have been lying to themselves their entire life.
you have HOCD, you might:
- Fear that you have been living in denial of your
- Worry that just the fact that you are
questioning your sexual identity means you are gay, because “I wouldn’t wonder
about my orientation if I was straight.”
- Fear losing your “self” and your previous
- Be concerned that homosexuality is “catching” in
the same way that a cold or the flu can be caught.
- Worry that being around a gay person will
trigger your own latent tendencies and cause you to act out.
- Fear that being unable to perform sexually means
you are gay.
- Think that other people will see you as gay
because of a certain mannerism or because of how you dress or act.
HOCD Is All About Intrusive Thoughts
truth is, HOCD is not about the person’s sexual orientation – it is really about
their intrusive thoughts and how they react to those thoughts.
without OCD will have a random thought and then dismiss it because it has no
meaning. Those who have OCD and HOCD, however, attach deep meaning to these
random thoughts and often spend countless hours searching for one hundred
percent assurance that the thought is or is not true.
intrusive thoughts don’t go away, either. For someone with OCD, once an
intrusive comes into their mind, they cannot dismiss the thought because it sets
up a cycle of doubt and questioning that repeats over and over again.
As far as OCD goes, no proven cause has been found for the disorder. And, since there isn’t just one concrete cause for OCD, there also is no exact reason for why someone with OCD will go on to develop HOCD or another subgroup. What we do know is that OCD and its subgroups revolve around whatever it is that the person fears. For example, while some may worry that they are actually gay (HOCD), another may worry that they will hurt themselves or others (Harm OCD).
Help for HOCD
Because there are only a
few studies out there on HOCD, many mental health professionals don’t realize
this subcategory exists. Therefore, they don’t understand how to properly
diagnose and treat it. In many cases, clinicians either miss the diagnosis or
they call it “sexual identity confusion” instead of HOCD. But, remember – HOCD
is not about sexual identity, it is about the person’s OCD (whether it has been
diagnosed or not).
There is a big problem
with labeling and treating HOCD as “sexual identity confusion.” It can cause
the individual to believe that their misinterpretation of their sexual
orientation is actually meaningful and true. For this reason, when seeking help
for HOCD, it is extremely important to find a therapist who specializes in treating
either OCD or the HOCD subgroup.
A therapist who is
familiar with the condition will also understand that HOCD is not something
that can be cured through reasoning and talk therapy because there is no underlying
homosexuality to uncover. Instead, treatment for HOCD should involve the same
therapies clinicians use when treating classic OCD. These include cognitive
behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure and response therapy (ERP), exposure and
ritual prevention therapy (EX/RP), and sometimes the short term use of
medication to help with depression and anxiety.
We Are Experts In The
Treatment of HOCD
If HOCD has left you struggling with relentless questions about your sexual identity, HOCD: Everything You Didn’t Know – A Primer for Understanding & Overcoming Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a book by Dr. Rosen, Founder and Clinical Director of The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders will be an indispensable and compassionate guide that will demystify the disorder and offer hope.
In addition to this book,
our clinic has therapists who are specially trained to treat OCD, HOCD, and
other subgroups of the disorder. For more information or to schedule an
appointment, contact The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood
Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida or call us today at 561-496-1094.