More than 50% of patients diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) fear contamination, germs and grime. These patients engage in excessive washing, cleaning and orderliness. They frequently wash themselves and items that surround them to reduce concerns about infection from germs, but continue to worry that they have not cleaned sufficiently.
Extreme Cleaning Can Make a Normally Healthy Activity Dangerous
Patients with OCD often damage their hands or body from excessive washing. Thus, they can turn a healthy habit of cleaning into an unhealthy, harmful compulsion. Physical injuries, such as cuts or scrapes, can make the body prone to infection, but OCD patients cannot control their desire to make certain that they are clean and may scrub themselves until the damage their skin. They may take repeated showers, compulsively clean their homes, dust off other members of their household and are concerned about contamination from many sources.
Extreme Concerns About Cleaning and Germs Can Limit Lifestyle Activities
OCD patients who are concerned about contracting germs may avoid certain activities that require them to touch items that they believe could infect them. For example, they may not want to empty a trashcan or touch grocery produce.
If you have OCD and are worried about contracting germs, I can help you cope with your fears. I use cognitive behavioral psychotherapy to help you become aware of your emotions, identify your fears and learn how to confront your concerns. I will teach you how gain a realistic perception of your fears and focus your energies on positive activities.