How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question
Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. Ed Wilfong is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have both OCD and I think a bit of PTSD. I am for some

This answer was rated:

I have both OCD and I think a bit of PTSD. I am for some reason obsessed over a time in my life 17 years ago, when I was going through a very stressful and traumatic time. However, following the time period in my life, I barely remembered anything and I certainly didn't dwell on it. My question is, is the severity of my anxiety over this time due to remembering things I had previously forgotten about or is it my OCD making it worse? I almost feel like I am having "flashbacks" but most of the time by flashbacks are either only partial or false in some way.
OCD and PTSD are often linked, but it is a bit difficult to explain. I will do my best here. PTSD is from trauma so bad, your mind tries to forget it. It can't. Many times OCD focuses the mind elsewhere, helping you forget. The OCD actually helps "cover" the PTSD. The catch is it doesn't work real well. Also, Prozac is helping with the OCD, so your defenses against the trauma are weakened. Thus flashbacks. Also mind will alter memories to protect you from real memories. So OCD is not making it worse. It is trying to replace the trauma with OCD. You need a psychiatrist as both need to be treated (not easy medically) and some more counseling.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Dr. Wilfong,

Thank you for your response. I think I understand what you are saying, but I have one more question. I have been diagnosed with Pure OCD and responsibility OCD. Is it possible that my need to know that I have never done anything wrong is making my memories of the past even worse?

Just briefly, the "trauma" in my life revolves around a time when I was a teenager, living away from home with my aunt (who tried to gain custody of me against my parents' consent), I had a very abusive boyfriend and I was around people who were doing things that I found to be morally wrong. When written out, it doesn't sound so bad, but it was an incredibly anxiety-provoking time for me. In any event, after leaving my aunt and returning home, my boyfriend tried to terrorize me for awhile and tell me that I was going to get into trouble, etc. until I finally broke up with him. What really worries me is that I now can vividly remember all these negative fantasies I had at the time. Because they are so vivid, I start to doubt whether or not they were thoughts or actual events (again, this is where my OCD comes into play). I also had a very odd family environment, so there was no one to talk to about this so after awhile I eventually "forgot" about everything. I remember a year later even saying to myself, "Did I really live with my aunt? I can barely remember it."

I realize that couseling would be helpful, but money is an issue right now, so that won't be an option right now. Thus, I am triying to work through it myself. Anyway, I guess my final question to you is, could my OCD being making me feel guilty even though traumatic things happened to me? Could I be blaming myself for the trauma?

Thank you again.
The 2 type of OCD you are diagnosed with are not official diagnoses - just some slang and I am not sure what they would mean. In is extremely common for PTSD victims to blame themselves. VERY COMMON. The OCD just makes you dwell on it more and OCD also tends to make one feel guilty too. The "wondering if memories are true" can be a couple things. Sometimes memories get mixed. More likely, either the event was not significant to family or they have their own denial going on.
Even if you can't get therapy due to finances, SSRI medications have been helpful in both PTSD and OCD. Prozac is good, but likely needs to be a higher dose. Often up to 60 mg to help with these issues. At 20mg, it may help with depression, but not OCD and PTSD. As memories emerge, they may be scary. Have safety net in mind - friend, family, doctor, that you can call if it gets to be too much.
Dr. Ed Wilfong and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you