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Homosexual / Gender OCD

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Hi, I am 26 year old male and am trying to make sense of this intense panic and anxiety I have been dealing with.

For the past 2 months I have been dealing with obsessive and intrusive thoughts leading to intense panic over the sudden doubt that I might be gay, which sprung because people have mistakenly asked me if I was gay in the past, gay men have hit on me, and I have friends in the lgbtq community. One night while out with friends, all of a sudden that question seemed to cause intense anxiety and obsessive thoughts about wondering if I might be gay and had not known it all along?

This turned into rumination and an analysis of my life for “signs” I could have missed, and got worse and worse and started to give me extreme anxiety and Intense doubt and was the only thing I could think about.

As of about a week ago, that thought seemed to calm down (a little) and then the new thought about possibly being transgender (what if I’m transgender?) and not knowing it took its place and is causing me the same symptoms, distress, and anxiety.

My whole life I have identified as a straight, cis male with a history of heterosexual relationships, I have always loved being a male and my body, and never doubted either of this things.

This also all seemed to happen right after my mother had attempted suicide and became very depressed, anxious and suicidal. I don’t know if these are related, but the last few months have been very unsettling.

Is this possibly a case of HOCD / an anxiety disorder? It’s all I think about and it worries and terrifies me if it’s true but I don’t think any it is true deep down.

Homosexual / Gender OCD

Answered by on -

A.

You would know if you were gay and you would likely have known this fact at a very young age. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to you, especially at 26 years of age. The same is true with being transgender. You would’ve likely known by now.

You suspect the possibility of an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). That is possible given your obsessive and intrusive thoughts that cause intense panic. These symptoms are often indicative of anxiety disorders, specifically OCD.

You insightfully were able to determine the possible source of your excessive thoughts which include people asking if you’re gay, being hit on by gay men and having friends in the LGBTQ community. You also mentioned the fact that your mother recently attempted suicide and is having many problems of her own. As you stated, the last few months have been difficult. Exceptionally so. That could’ve triggered your anxiety.

Obsessive-compulsive disorders and anxiety in general often involve the underlying fear of loss of control. Having someone you love attempt suicide, could make you feel out of control. These life difficulties could have triggered the development of your anxiety.

Among people with OCD, some experience sexually based fears. A common one is an excessive fear of becoming gay and being ridiculed for it. This is called homosexual OCD. It affects approximately 12% of individuals seeking treatment for OCD. Studies indicate it’s more common in males than in females.

It should be noted that even though homosexual OCD is described in the general population, it has not been officially recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM), the diagnostic textbook used by professionals that catalog psychiatric conditions. Even so, there are studies that indicate it is real phenomenon.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is highly effective for anxiety disorders. Individuals with OCD often opt for more specific behavioral therapy known as exposure and response prevention (ERP). With ERP, clients are purposefully exposed to their fears through a gradual process over the course of weeks or several months. When done in a controlled setting exposing one to their fears allows an individual to habituate to them in a safe environment. Over time, these fears will be less triggering. If done correctly, it will significantly reduce the fears or eliminate them altogether.

Therapy will also help you to learn better ways to respond to your anxious thoughts. Some people find taking medication in addition to counseling expedites the healing process. Some studies have shown that antidepressants can be effective treatments.

It would be wise to consult a mental health professional to assist you in reducing  intrusive and excessive thoughts. The treatments mentioned above are highly effective. Find a therapist you like and begin treatment. The sooner you do, the sooner you will feel relief. It’s stressful to live in an anxiety-filled state of mind, especially one in which you experience intense panic. It’s not good for your health nor your mental health. Hopefully you will take this advice and seek help from a qualified professional. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Homosexual / Gender OCD

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2019). Homosexual / Gender OCD. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/10/24/homosexual-gender-ocd/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 22 Oct 2019 (Originally: 24 Oct 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 22 Oct 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.