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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: College research turns into mental nightmare.

 Mandee - Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:01 pm

Hi, there. I am a 20-year-old student in college, who has suffered with mild OCD for the better part of my life. I have actually not been officially diagnosed, but I have all the signs and symptoms. So do many in my family. I say mild because, up until now, it hasn’t affected my life very profoundly, so I am usually able to work around it.

About a week ago, I was working on a term paper for my psychology class, in which I had to address the topic of pedophilia. During my research, I began to view some pro-pedophile websites. The sites did not feature child pornography, (I would NEVER purposely view something like that), mostly just arguments in support of this behavior. While there were no photos of actual children, there were some suggestive drawings.

I tossed and turned all night and could not get these images out of my mind. They were not overtly sexual, but featured young kids in little clothing… and they were obviously not meant as innocent images, though they were not illegal. The whole thing just made me uncomfortable. I forced myself to focus on them, hoping I could get some rest, and… as horrible as it is to say, it seems as though I became aroused by these images. Of course, my OCD kicked in from there and I have been obsessing ever since.

This is so nonsensical, because I do not have any inappropriate feelings for children. None. I have no desire to do anything sexual with a child. Moreover, I’ve seen stark naked kids a billion times and never once felt something so awful. It’s not like I awoke something in myself; I’m still 100% heterosexual and attracted to grown men. When I look at kids, all I see are kids. Not objects of desire. I wasn't aroused in the sense that I felt like doing something with a child, it just seemed to produce a sort of sexual response, which really frightened me.

So, what in the heck is this? I am so confused and pretty scared.

P.S. I see that there is a similar post to mine… and I have read your answer, but what’s most troubling is that there wasn’t anything overtly sexual about these images.
 Mandee - Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:14 pm

I'm not bumping, simply felt the need to add to my post. I suppose what I'm really after is, if there is some logical explanation for what has happened to me, if I can be aroused by imagining a child, what sets me apart from pedophiles who become aroused the same way? Of course, I am attracted to adults and don't feel attracted to children, however, I would imagine there are some pedophiles who are upset by their thoughts, as well.
 Dr. K. Eisele - Sun Oct 28, 2007 7:47 pm

User avatar Dear Mandee:

OCD is a tricky thing. In order to have OCD you only have to have the obsessive thoughts. Compulsive behaviors do not have to be present. I think that because you are OCD obsessive thoughts about the images has been triggered. I have seen this in patients before.

For example, I once saw a patient who had obsessive thoughts about harming her children. This individual would never do such a thing in reality; I know because I checked just for safety's sake. The images were horrifying to this person and resulted in fear that those thoughts were actually subconscious wishes. The individual never told anyone but me, because of the horror and shame.

There is very little published research on whether or not obsessions that are incongruent with the sufferer's character occur with increased incidence over congruent obsessions. I'm tending to think that they might, but then, it may be that those who do have these type of obsessions are the ones who seek treatment for their problem.

Rest assured that you are not alone in this. Plenty of OCD sufferers have this very kind obsession. Maybe it's because OCD is classified as an anxiety state, and when you happen upon something so disgusting to you it makes you feel anxious, and your obsessions then kick in about that disgusting thing.

When an individual reaches the point that their illness begins to interfere with life, it is time to seek help as you should do at this time. Treatment for OCD is antidepressants, because they also treat anxiety.

Good luck to you!

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