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Hidden Battle: When Cleanliness Becomes an Obsession

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Lately, reality TV shows have been gaining popularity. On these shows, it’s not uncommon to see celebrities confessing about their Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). For instance, one celebrity covered her couch in plastic wrap when a friend came over to eat, fearing food might spill. Such behavior is not exclusive to celebrities and affects many people. If someone is overly attentive to cleanliness or cannot tolerate a speck of dust in their home, this could be a sign of OCD.

What is OCD?

The term OCD was coined in 1879 by Dr. William Alexander Hammond to describe a patient’s obsessive need to wash their hands. Individuals with OCD often have uncontrollable thoughts, leading them to engage in repetitive actions such as washing their hands.

What causes OCD?

Psychological and social factors mainly cause OCD. Particularly, excessive stress and perfectionism can lead to obsessive thinking. Experiencing strict discipline from childhood can influence the development of OCD. Additionally, OCD can be used as a coping mechanism to manage psychological trauma.

Compulsive Cleaning is OCD

OCD manifests in various forms, with compulsive cleaning being one of the most recognizable. People with this compulsion often fear contamination by germs, leading them to wash their hands repetitively to mitigate their fears. Signs of excessive cleaning include following specific sequences and exhibiting unusual reasoning behind their behaviors.

What is an anxiety disorder?

OCD is a condition where one experiences recurring thoughts leading to compulsions. Compulsions are also known as repetitive behaviors. Unfortunately, many people do not recognize this as an illness. If it worsens, it can lead to difficulties in daily life and social isolation. People often dismiss it as being part of their anxious personality or just being a neat freak. OCD patients also tend to hide their symptoms and do not receive proper treatments.

What is germophobia?

Former President Donald Trump, who is an avid anti-masker, is known to be a germophobe. Germophobia is a pathological condition where one fears being infected with germs. People with germophobia excessively wash their hands and over-clean.

Do cockroaches have OCD?

Cockroaches are often perceived as contaminated and dirty. This stereotype comes from their habitats, such as sewage systems and piles of trash. However, cockroaches have a habit of grooming themselves, just like cats. Ironically, this grooming OCD in cockroaches usually intensifies after they encounter humans.

Can OCD lead to divorce?

OCD can be a cause for divorce if it requires medical help. It can be a serious reason for a spouse to struggle to continue the marriage. OCD can cause irreparable damage to relationships and cause divorce in couples without improvements.

How do you overcome OCD?

The first step in treating OCD is to change one’s mindset. It’s important to recognize your problems and let go of obsessive thoughts. Even if you feel uncomfortable, set a time during the day for such sessions. After each session, practice delaying obsessive actions.

Seeking Help for OCD

If overcoming OCD is challenging, seek help from professionals. Common treatments for OCD are cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps to reduce anxiety by changing patients’ thought patterns. Medications that are used are serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antidepressants. It’s crucial to consult with a professional while receiving appropriate treatments.

Can OCD lead to death?

In the UK, a woman who struggled with severe OCD died from dehydration as she showered for up to 20 hours a day. She had an obsession with germs that led her to her shower habits. She also feared being in public and did not leave her house.

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