I also have OCD, not in the same level as your son. Reassuring/remembering/checking/etc is a part of it. He has to try to stop the reassuring, because that's what feeds OCD. Easier said than done, I know. But with time, the relief will last longer and longer, and the anxiety will decrease faster. Reassuring/etc gives the person a quick relief, but in the long term it's useless. The more you postpone/cancel the compulsions, the more you'll feel fine (in the long term)
Okay, Mom, here we go. You and I have a difference in how much we believe diagnosticians in the mental health field, but remember, I've lived my entire adult life and grown old dealing with them. Please take this with some thought. I don't think there's anything wrong with your son incessantly questioning things in and of itself. Also, OCD doesn't cause anxiety. Anxiety causes OCD. As I've said often, every human being has thoughts. If everything we think a lot about is an obsession, than all life is obsessed and mentally ill. We really can't live that way. You can't write a novel without being obsessed -- trust me, I've written 3 plus of them and when you're writing them you think of little else. Intrusive thoughts are everpresent, they are the ideas that tell you where you're going next. Where do these thoughts come from? Where does the notion of writing a novel come from? Or writing a song? Or learning your multiplication tables? Or learning to read? Or creating a vaccine? All of this requires what you're calling obsessive thinking, and if we wipe this out from everyone we'll all be walking around unable to feed ourselves. So the problem isn't created by the thoughts, as we all think all the time. You can't brush your teeth without obsessing about doing it. The problem comes when our thoughts change from just who we are to driving us nuts. Nobody knows why this happens, but it's that underlying drive to go negative on oneself that is the mental illness. Blaming them on the OCD is what we say, but it's not what's happening, what is happening is we turn all that thinking into a big thing and a horrible thing that if we goof on horrible things will happen. I think the best thing is to never mention OCD again unless a person is washing his hands a hundred times a day or performing other rituals. If we apply that term to thinking itself, we make the term meaningless. Your son has been through a lot, and unfortunately that has taken you along for the ride. My wife has the same problem with me, except that you actually care and are trying like hell to help him get better and my wife just wants me to shut up about it. For some reason, and you may never learn why, your son appears for a long time to believe he is being judged quite harshly and has to be perfect or terrible things will happen. He's had several different diagnoses so far. I wish I could help you truly diagnose him and find the magic button, but ERP is just CBT. Different people do CBT differently but basically they all start by teaching you what you're doing with your thinking, how you're distorting the real risk with it, how you're destroying your life by thinking that way even if there is risk (a plane can crash, you can drive off a bridge, but your life is better because you can go cool places if you drive over bridges and fly anyway) and then slowly expose you to the things you've turned into such a nightmare. Will it work? Never did for me. But it does for a whole lot of people, and I think young people do better. All I know from what you've said on here is that he's had difficulties for a long time given he's had such a short life so far so something isn't wired right in him. Since we don't understand the brain enough to know what, you have to try whatever you can to get him to rewire. He needs to know that most people really don't care at all about one another that much to be judging, but maybe somewhere in his life, either at home, in church, at school, from his peers, who knows, he got that impression. Therapy of whatever kind will try to help him think his way out of it. My advice is, don't try to change his basic personality, which appears to involve analyzing things. Focus on the fact it makes him really really unhappy. If he does that and keeps his active and questioning brain, some day he will make a great lawyer or writer or doctor. I don't think your son has OCD, only based on your description of him, or else we all do. I think he has something else going on that has terrified him, probably irrationally. I've had to live with this for many many years, though I didn't have it when I was young, and then when I stopped the Paxil and had that absurd reaction to it I did eventually get OCD, so I know the difference. I've lived it. OCD is horrible. It makes it really hard to get anywhere with anything because you're wasting so much time on complete nonsensical behavior. But anxiety and depression are awful too, just in a different way. My advice, again, is, don't focus on how he thinks. Focus on how it makes him feel. Peace, Mom. Oh, and if he does feel judged, good, if he does it, and nothing bad happens, he will stop feeling that way. That's how CBD works when it does work. If you keep avoiding, the anxiety feeds on it and gets fatter and fatter like a tapeworm. I don't want him to have my life, it's a waste of time.
Also, there are app/online programs for ERP. There is one specifically that has been mentioned to me by three different people. My son has said that sometimes he wishes therapy was anonymous so he didn't feel like someone might judge him. I found that interesting.