Contamination, germ-a-phobe, hand washing
Washing, contamination and germs
When the average person thinks of OCD, they think of germ-a-phobes who are constantly washing their hands.
The fact is this is only one of the 15 basic types of OCD.
But it is the one usually portrayed in movies and TV programs. It is wonderful that the awareness of OCD is being exposed, however there are some people who mistakenly feel they don’t have OCD because they don’t feel compelled to wash their hands to the point of cracking and bleeding as depicted on the big screen.
Those who experience contamination obsessions/compulsions typically feel a sense of germs on their body or environment even after washing and cleaning. They often turn to strong chemicals to clean their homes and use a more than liberal amount of hand sanitizers as though they are incapable of ridding themselves of the contamination.
Many companies exploit this by the over emphasizing of the health and safety factors of germs… One in particular runs an ad showing someone washing a counter that chicken had been on. The ad continues showing an apple, then being placed on the counter, that their child is going to eat. This seems to be giving the message that the life of your child may hang on whether you clean that surface with their product. This infuriates me!
Often the allopathic treatment, besides medicine, is CBT- Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
MOST of the people I have talked to say that this exposure response therapy just changes the obsession, but doesn't rid them of the tendency. This therapy consists of forcing someone to face what they feel they can not tolerate. For example, one lady had to hold dog feces in her hands for a period of time. She said after her sessions, she was able to walk down the sidewalk and not fear that a pile lurked on the path. But she then felt she had to use stronger and stronger chemicals when cleaning her bathroom and started using more hand sanitizers.
It didn’t rid her of OCD, just switched her obsessions to a different area.
People engage in the “over-cleansing” activities typically because of 4 basic emotions themes:
1. That the germs can cause sickness or harm to them or someone else
2. Grossed out at the idea that there are so many germs out there
3. The washing is an effort to cleanse oneself of undesirable thoughts, sins or experience
4. That one touch could completely contaminate the whole body or area… that 99% clean and 1% exposure to germs can still cause major havoc or sickness
The people who get this type of OCD often are very caring, loving and giving people, who never want to be the source of injury to anyone. It is often the torturous thoughts of spreading germs and their concern for others which fuels their compulsions.
If you would like to see if you are a candidate for the protocol I use, please click on the link below.