What Are Your Options For Treatment for HOCD?
If you have HOCD you know it's a difficult disorder to overcome. There is a lot of questioning, checking and rechecking, and overwhelming anxiety. What's worse is that there aren't that many resources out there for where to go for treatment. But Manplay.com has your back. We're going to cover what treatment options there are for you and where you can find them, even if you are on a budget.
HOCD is a disorder that pervades nearly every facet of your life. It's symptomatic of a broader OCD issue. Because of this, it's more than just an identity crisis. It's a constant and overwhelming anxiety that disrupts the flow of your life.
This form of obsession is not often discussed when you're learning about sexuality or when you're learning about OCD in general. This lack of knowledge can leave you at a disadvantage when you find yourself ensnared in the middle of an obsessive episode.
The treatment for HOCD is going to be a long and arduous process. However, in overcoming your HOCD you will be able to develop the tools in order to deal with future OCD subtypes that might emerge in the future. The rewards for taking HOCD seriously will be gratifying and relieving.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
One of the most common methods of treatment for HOCD is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This technique is a form of talk therapy designed to focus on root problems, breaking down the thought process, and creating new positive habits. CBT is often accompanied by other aids or methods as well. These will be broken down even further below.
The reason CBT works is HOCD is a subtype of OCD. People with OCD develop different obsessions which can cause anxiety, identity crises and compulsions. CBT targets those obsessions and offers the tools to dismantle the obsession and reprogram different reactions to the objects of those obsessions. For example, if one of your compulsions was to search up "gay test" and take every single gay test you can find, the therapist would target that compulsion and give you the tools to expend that energy somewhere else in your life. Think of all the hours you could save!
The most effective part of this treatment is that it doesn't just solve the current issue, so the patient has to keep returning every time they develop a new obsession. It provides the tools, through homework assignments, exercises and challenges, for the patient to create their own strategy to resolve their current and future obsessions.
Where to get it
CBT is enhanced with talk therapy by a licensed psychotherapist so you will most likely have to get a referral to one through your family doctor. This is the best method in order to get proper treatment, however sometimes it just is not the most accessible.
Fortunately you can find the exercises and assignments online that can help you find the tools on your own. You can print them off and keep with you to act as a constant reminder of the habits you're trying to form. Though you won't have a professional guiding you through the process, disciplined use of the exercises can help to alleviate anxiety and help you identify problematic behaviors before they take over.
It also is available in computer programs and through group therapy. Group therapy can be an interesting choice as you'll get reassured that you are not alone in your feelings and that it is a burden you have to face.
You can also find help looking for the right therapist and treatment for you, or to just get some local resources you can go to your local OCD clinic. You can find directories for OCD clinics in the United States and in Canada and the US At this directory, you can also find clinics in these countries:
If you go through talk therapy with a licensed professional, sometimes you might come to the conclusion that medication will help with the process. Medication shouldn't be used without the guidance of a therapist. They can help avoid drug interactions, side effects or inappropriate dosages.
Medication may not always be the best solution, and should always just be an aid to treatment and not the only treatment. Medication on its own won't do you a lot of good without the tools to assess, identify and reconstruct your thought process as well.
Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP Therapy)
One of the more effective methods to treat HOCD is ERP therapy. This method is actually a subtype of CBT, yet it isn't widely known by all therapists. The basic breakdown of the therapy is that the patient is made to confront the object of their obsessions and then not following up with any destructive behaviors. For people with other forms of OCD it can be like touching a doorknob without washing your hands.
Translating it to HOCD
So how does this work for specifically HOCD? Well pretty much the same way. The object of the obsession is the possibility for homosexuality within them. In order to confront these fears they might have to enter situations in which the potential for 'triggering' those homosexual feelings is more apparent.
These kinds of situations might be as subtle as shaking hands with another man or watching a TV show about gay characters, or they can be as jarring as going on a date with another man. These steps would be increased gradually as the patient becomes more ready for it. While at first it may trigger more anxiety than it relieves, it reassures the patient that just because they might be in these situations doesn't mean anything bad will happen.
Where to get it
Finding a therapist to supervise your journey with ERP therapy is the same as finding a therapist for CBT. Just make sure when you're finding a therapist that they are familiar with the method first.
If therapy just isn't accessible at this time for whatever reason you may have to attempt to do the associations yourself. Though it is a little riskier to do it without the help of a therapist it is still possible to use the tools from the CBT resources in order to create the best strategy for yourself. It would still be a good idea to have a trustworthy friend or at least someone knowledgeable to help you along.
A first small step could be watching TV shows, movies, or even just looking at pictures or ads featuring gay men. Once you're able to do this without following up with a destructive or obsessive habit, you can move on to possibly looking at gay websites. Maybe even browse dating websites like Manplay.com if that is something you're ready for.
If at any point you decide to use the dating site, just be sure to let anyone you message or reply to know that you are suffering from HOCD and would just like to talk. It could help to even hear the experiences of how someone who knows they are gay felt when they were questioning.
Who knows? Maybe you can find a gay man with OCD who would know what obsessions and compulsive behavior is like. If you're lucky enough to find someone that relatable you may be able to use to refine your toolsets.
Using these anecdotes and these experiences can help you distinguish between your obsession and a questioning phase. The ability to do that will be pivotal in helping to heal and manage your disorder. Knowledge can still be power and the more you have will help.
To Be Aware
As with any treatment, there are things to be aware of when getting CBT. Wait lists for affordable therapists can be long or you have to pay heavy expenses in order to find available and attentive therapists. The exercises can be useful but having someone to talk to can help to reassure you that you are reinforcing the correct behaviors and breaking down the destructive ones.
It's also important to be aware when doing ERP therapy that you are not ignoring signs and signals that you are pushing your therapy too quickly in order to reach completion. It will only snowball into something larger down the line.
If you're unable to get accompanying talk therapy along with your CBT or ERP therapy, then consider looking for group therapy sessions for people with OCD. You can't rely on finding another person with OCD while self-administering ERP therapy. You'll still have access to a professional leading the session and it will help validate your experiences and find actual useful advice.
Reach Out About Your HOCD
If you can't get access to therapy or group sessions, you can always reach out using the internet as a tool of healing. You can find forums, support groups and resources and just about every facet of OCD including HOCD.
You can use these forums to find someone who has similar experiences with it as you, who might be able to help you streamline your strategy to make it the best for you. You can follow along their therapy session on your own and discuss what your feelings and fears were while doing it. You'll be able to reassure each other and learn from each other's experiences.