Does your teen often ask the same questions over and over, especially about topics like their health and safety or the well-being of loved ones? If so, they may be engaging in compulsive reassurance-seeking behavior. This type of behavior is a pattern where an individual looks for constant and repetitive validation of their anxieties, beliefs, or worries.
Excessive reassurance seeking can be problematic for teens because it may lead to an inability to make decisions for themselves, an over-reliance on external sources for validation, increased anxiety and stress levels, and even depression. If you’re concerned about this compulsive behavior, learn more about the causes, symptoms, and solutions from the expert team at Ascend.
What Is Compulsive Reassurance Seeking?
Compulsive reassurance seeking is when you need a lot of reassurance about your fears and concerns. If you’re not getting the answers you want, you might start feeling anxious or even have panic attacks. Many times, this condition is diagnosed alongside obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) because the preoccupation with reassurance becomes a compulsion.
Are you wondering if you’re seeking reassurance in an unhealthy way? Watch out for these habits and symptoms:
- Concerns about safety – Constantly asking, “Are you sure it’s safe?” or “What if something goes wrong?”
- Seeking approval – Asking friends, family, and coworkers what they think about decisions.
- Fear of missing out – Checking in on others to make sure nothing major happened without them.
- Health worries – Asking for reassurance about health concerns over and over — even if you already know the answer.
In order to avoid excessive reassurance seeking, it is important to recognize the triggers behind this habit and address them.
When Seeking Reassurance Becomes Excessive
When attempting to determine if seeking reassurance has become excessive, it’s important to consider the frequency and intensity of the need for approval. For example, if someone is constantly asking the same question or checking emails and phones multiple times a day in order to get reassurance, this might be a sign that things are out of control. Additionally, if the need for reassurance is having a disruptive or negative impact on daily life, it might be time to seek professional help.
Solutions for Compulsive Behaviors
One of the most effective ways to avoid compulsive reassurance-seeking is to practice mindfulness. With regular practice, individuals can learn to observe their own thoughts and feelings and accept them without needing external validation from others. Additionally, creating a structured routine with regular breaks and activities throughout the day can help reduce anxiety levels and provide structure, minimizing stress and mitigating compulsive behaviors.
Other strategies include challenging negative thought patterns related to self-esteem and self-criticism, as well as developing more positive coping strategies such as distraction techniques or journaling. You might also want to ensure you have structured support from friends, family, and mental health care providers to help you set healthy boundaries, maintain your mental health, and deal with triggers in a constructive way.
If excessive reassurance-seeking has become a major issue that impacts your ability to socialize with friends, focus in class, or complete homework and chores, it might be time for a mental health reset at a residential treatment facility.
Help for Teens at Ascend
Many teens struggle with OCD and compulsive reassurance-seeking behaviors. If this is something your family is facing, Ascend is here to help with personalized care and treatment plans that focus on the entire family system, educating parents, teaching teens, and ensuring healthy communication.
Call 310.388.3713 today to learn if Ascend is the right fit for you or a teen in your life.