An Extensive Look at Pedophilia OCD

Pedophilia OCD, also known as P-OCD, is perhaps one of the least understood types of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Read on to learn much more about this intriguing disorder.
An Extensive Look at Pedophilia OCD

Last update: 06 April, 2021

It’s truly fascinating how the universe reviles and despises pedophilia. Nevertheless, although having the same name, pedophilia is NOT pedophilia OCD. It’s the absolute opposite. Thus, people shouldn’t bully sufferers as they bully pedophiles. No matter your walk of life or background, almost everyone can unanimously agree on hating pedophiles.

After all, people who desire, and prey upon children, are among the most repulsive on this planet. There’s an extremely negative, and wholly justified pedophilia classification , making the OCD subtype hard to treat. Not only is pedophilia OCD much more difficult to treat, but also to diagnose.

Pedophilia OCD or P-OCD is perhaps one of the least recognized types of obsessive-compulsive disorder . P-OCD is poorly misunderstood, unlike the more commonly recognized types of OCD. Sufferers actually often silence themselves, before admitting their struggle. 

Indeed, people mark those suffering from P-OCD as criminals or creeps, the taboo surrounding pedophilia is so pervasive. In turn, they struggle in private, never admitting to the darkest fears that lurk in the back of their minds.

It’s important, therefore, to quickly point out that there’s a vast difference between pedophilia and P-OCD. There’s a myriad of diagnostic criteria to be met for one to be identified as a pedophile. This surely makes P-OCD strugglers stand out in stark relief from child molesters and those who desire kids. 

People suffering from pedophilia OCD have no sexual inclination toward children. Besides, their intrusive thoughts disgust them so much that they go to great lengths to avoid experiencing them.

“I’ve got this obsessive compulsive disorder where I have to have everything in a straight line or everything has to be in pairs.”

-David Beckham-

Pedophilia OCD is the absolute opposite of pedophilia

We can’t stress this fact enough. Unlike those struggling with pedophilia (which is a different mental disorder in itself), P-OCD is defined by fear. Indeed, the world marginalizes, maligns, and misunderstands P-OCD sufferers. It’s very important for you to understand this.

Sadly, even highly trained healthcare providers and therapists marginalize them. They certainly should know better. Pedophilia OCD is the absolute opposite of pedophilia, and those who struggle with it:

  • Don’t have sexual desires toward children-
  • Are repulsed and embarrassed by their unwelcome thoughts.
  • Will go to great lengths to avoid these thoughts.
  • Have ended their own lives due to their disorder.

It must be emphatically stressed again that Pedophilia OCD isn’t a form of pedophilia. It’s a form of OCD. Approximately 1 in 40 adults suffer from some form of OCD. But, by comparison, less than 1% of adults are pedophiles. This makes it a common, widespread disorder in desperate need of treatment and research. For people silently struggling with P-OCD, considerate treatment is vital.

This particularly marginalized form of OCD needs help overcoming symptoms, functioning in society. Keep in mind that there’s a stark difference in both prevalence and presentation of symptoms between pedophilia and P-OCD. However, there’s an unfortunately common tendency to misdiagnose people with P-OCD as pedophiles.

In turn, healthcare providers seek similar rehabilitation paths for those with P-OCD. This isn’t only ineffective but also causes them to avoid treatment. If one grows to believe that one’s a monster, one secretly fears that everyone believes the same. And you know what’s heartbreaking? They’re actually right.

What exactly is pedophilia OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder manifests in many ways, including an irrational obsession that leads to pedophilia OCD, also known as P-OCD, is perhaps one of the least understood types of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Read on to learn much more about this intriguing disorder. This ranges from the benign like a fixation on certain numbers, and compulsion to flick a light switch constantly. Another form is harmful like obsessive germaphobia, leading to a person compulsively washing their hands until they bleed.

There are unofficially six categories that most specialists commonly use to describe OCD broadly, with multiple subcategories. These have emergent classifications, leading to an almost infinite variety of ways this disorder can present. Of relevance to P-OCD is the branch of intrusive thoughts dealing with a sexual and deviant paraphilia, including taboo thoughts.

Throughout history, there were documented cases of taboo behavior even when there was no predilection to act. Oftentimes, the fear was related to exposure. For example, thinking that they were now “contaminated” by someone else breaking this taboo. This, thereby, made them much more likely to also do so themselves.

Believe it or not, even theistic literature reinforced these fears. People who struggle with OCD also find themselves turning to hyper religiosity, (also known as scrupulosity). Besides, blasphemy fears can frequently turn up in those who struggle with OCD. 

For example, consider this quote from this quote from the Bible. “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing that belongs to them, or you will be swept away in all their sin” (Numbers 16:26). There’s an overwhelming fear that mere exposure to evil will cause someone to become evil. This surely isn’t a new or novel concept to those who suffer from OCD.

Am I a pedophile?

At the core of pedophilia OCD is this question. If you think about harming children, you must want to harm children, right? No. People with germaphobia OCD don’t go around intentionally starting plagues. People with intrusive thoughts about harming their spouses are very loving. Therefore, there’s no tangible connection between P-OCD and child abuse.

We must clarify that P-OCD isn’t a sexual attraction to minors (pedophilia). Yet, only the irrational fear of being sexually attracted to minors. Just as people with OCD fear injuring others in situations where they’re, literally, unable of harming, those with P-OCD also fear. They’re afraid of being a risk to children, even though they aren’t.

P-OCD is completely separate from pedophilia (both in potential and actual harm). It’s important to take a closer look at the common misconceptions of pedophilia. Pedophilia itself is merely attraction to minors, and it doesn’t necessarily lead to sufferers taking action on that attraction. 

Of the marginally small number of pedophiles, an even tinier subset is the group of child molesters and abusers. In fact, some child rapists aren’t even pedophiles, as mind-boggling as that may initially seem. Sexual attraction to minors doesn’t automatically lead to minor sexual abuse and it’s an element of the crime. 

Intrusive thoughts about sexual attraction to minors don’t equate to ever actually having any actual attraction. More importantly, it doesn’t necessarily lead to developing that sort of taboo. P-OCD is a mental disorder, whereas pedophilia is a sexual dysfunction. 

Neither pedophilia nor P-OCD is directly tied to child abuse. The link from P-OCD to criminal activity is extremely weak and hypothetical, at most. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the connection isn’t there, period.

The negative stigma of pedophilia OCD

While negative stereotypes and judgment from your peer group are understandably hurtful, receiving harsh criticism from your therapist is especially devastating. It’s well understood that mental health professionals should know better. Sadly, misdiagnosis and unfair treatment towards patients are quite common. 

These misdiagnoses and unkind judgments are common for people presenting P-OCD, leading to further trauma for those seeking treatment. Unfortunately, professional treatment for P-OCD sufferers very rarely includes actual treatment for their unique subtype of OCD. Instead, these treatment protocols range from useless to actively harmful. 

Some therapists try to help patients avoid acting on pedophilic urges when they don’t have pedophilic urges at all. Others force victims to “accept” they’re child rapists who’ll harm children if they don’t get rehabilitation for their deviancy. This, of course, can make their OCD complex even worse.

Understandably, most people with P-OCD would rather suffer in silence, avoiding diagnosis and treatment. Their fear of being “confirmed” as a child abuser is unbearable. What makes this fear worse is that it’s largely justifiable, giving the current depth of understanding of P-OCD. 

For anyone with any illness to have a reason not to trust healthcare practitioners is disgusting and tragic. It’s a blight that stains the reputation of all mental health professionals, calling into judgment their qualifications. How long will it take before the negative stigma surrounding P-OCD eventually subsides?

This has so far only addressed how harmful the medical professional community’s stigmatism of the topic is. When it truly supposed to be the most compassionate of fields that intersect with the mentally ill. It’s a depressing state for people in need of assistance and support. When you can’t trust doctors, who can you turn to for help with your disorder?

Treatment of pedophilia OCD

Fortunately, there’s treatment readily available, despite the many misgivings above. Many follow the typical patterns of assistance for people with less taboo forms of OCD. Compassionate care from a trusted professional is important.

Seek help to control the disorder through proven means. There are ways to minimize the impact of pedophilia OCD so sufferers lead normal lifestyles. Controlled exposure and response cognitive behavioral therapy are great P-OCD treatments, which succeeded in treating most OCD forms. 

The practice involves escalating exposure to the source of your obsession, with coaching and assistance in developing healthy responses. Though “exposing yourself to children” sounds like a terrible idea, P-OCD’s should be encouraged to interact normally with children. 

Starting from just seeing children present without becoming disturbed, and later having normal interactions and conversations with them. A skilled therapist will help cope with the trauma this causes. Then, she’ll let you know when your responses are or aren’t healthy.

There’s also pharmaceutical treatment available. With few anti-OCD and anti-anxiety medicines on the market, these may help with intrusive thoughts and ruminative patterns. This can also help with OCD paraphilia disorders, as well. These include depression, anxiety, and panic attacks (which are linked to OCD). 

Suffering from pedophilia OCD? You’re not a monster, nor a latent abuser. You just struggle with a common, controllable mental disorder. You and those around you must understand this. By acting with reason, only then can those of you who suffer from P-OCD eventually develop the tools. Those guiding you to conquer the irrational fears that drive you to compulsively act.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.