Seeking Reassurance with OCD
By: April Vass
OCD presents differently for everyone, different fears, different obsessions, and different compulsions. One prominent compulsion that arises for people experiencing OCD is reassurance seeking.
Why Do We Seek Reassurance?
As explained in previous posts, compulsions are utilized to bring short-term relief from the feared obsessions we experience. Seeking reassurance is a compulsion, which means when we are provided the reassurance OCD is searching for, we receive short term relief.
How Seeking Reassurance Impacts OCD
The one thing we learn about OCD it that it will never be satisfied. When we seek reassurance, we are seeking a particular answer, and even after the answer is received, it will not be enough to keep OCD satisfied. This will result in OCD wanting the answer to be provided again, and again, and again. Reassurance affords us short-term relief but only makes OCD stronger and louder.
How Do We Know If We Are Seeking Information or Seeking Reassurance?
If we were seeking information, we would be asking our question once and asking to be informed with the truth. We would ask questions that can be answered and accept the answer provided (IOCDF, 2016).
When we are seeking reassurance, we are repeatedly asking the same question, often being an unanswerable question. The purpose of asking the question is to feel less anxious. Due to this, we are continually seeking the desired answer, and when that answer is not provided, we may challenge the person answering the question, we will argue the answer or insist the answer be repeated or rephrased (IOCDF, 2016).
For further educational viewing https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/18-Information-seekers-vs-reassurance-seekers.pdf
IOCDF (2016). Distinguishing Information-Seeking and Reassurance Seeking. Retrieved at https://iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/18-Information-seekers-vs-reassurance-seekers.pdf