Monthly Archives: August 2011

Knowing You Have OCD With Certainty

Max in a post to this site asked what about convincing someone, with certainty, that they have OCD, since this would be comforting and reassuring.   There are three problems with this approach.  First, as I’ve noted elsewhere, research has shown us that the only people who have absolute certainty are stupid, which eliminates this as a possibility for most OCD sufferers.  Seriously, we find that attempts to reassure oneself by saying ‘x’ is OCD followed by the comfort that I don’t have to worry about ‘x,’ tends to be a short run solution.  Usually the sufferer at some point will then begin to obsess and try to reassure him/herself that the problem is OCD and the circle goes round and round (this is 2 of the three points).  We are for the sufferer admitting that it is likely that they have OCD, but that this is independent of whether or not there feared consequences are avoidable.  For example, if your OCD issues focus on wanting your loved ones to never die, the fact this is an OCD concern is independent of the fact that your loved ones might die at any time, so treatment has to help you cope with this fact of life.  Now it is true that some OCD concerns may involve lower probability fears, but that isn’t relevant to treatment.  Whatever you fear is what the focus of treatment needs to be on.   The goal is always twofold: I need to cope with the uncertainty that ‘x’ may happen; and no matter how horrific ‘x’ is, I need to try to figure out a positive way to cope with it, if it does happen.