When Washing Your Hands Often Is Itself A Disease

If you’re the type that needs to wash your hands every few minutes because of an irrational fear of dirt and germs, then you are not alone – about 1 in 50 adults have some form of a disease called  OCDobsessive-compulsive disorder. This is a condition where

  • you get recurrent awful thoughts coming into your mind, even when you try to keep them out.
  • you have to touch or count things or repeat the same action again and again -  like washing hands and checking that the electrical plugs are off,over and over again.

We can all worry excessively about real-life problems or be obsessive about certain things at times, but if this becomes too repetitive and causes distress, then it may be time to seek treatment.

OCD sufferer Megan Fox, star of Transformers, confessed to a horror of restaurant cutlery – “putting my mouth where a million other mouths have been”

Donald Trump refuses to shake hands, for fear of catching germs

David Beckham has to have the cans in the fridge in pairs and lined up

OCD is sometimes inherited, so can occasionally run in the family. Other times, it can be brought on by stress. Men and women are equally affected, usually first appearing in the teens and twenties. Diagnosis is established by a mental health professional, such as a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, and can be often confirmed, in long-standing cases by a PET scan, a special form of CT scan.

A non-invasive PET scan can indicate differences in brain activity of OCD patients versus normals

Can OCD be treated? In short,yes. Depending on the severity, either one or both behaviour therapy or medications like SSRIs. Treatment is effective for OCD  with most people being cured.

The question remains that there is a fine line between excessive worry about real-life problems and repetitive worries in OCD.  Many do not seek help, but when it becomes debilitating or even deadly, it might be that bit too late; as in the case of the lady with OCD who slept for 3 years in a car and was found dead..see here.

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