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Hiya to anyone who reads this!

So a little background. I’ve always been conscious of ensuring I’m ‘clean’ - personal hygiene is something I find important and for the most part I would consider myself normal in regards to my self-hygiene routine...however....

it’s embarrassing to admit it, but there are certain instances whereby I wash my hands 20+ times with both soap, hand sanitizer and I’ll use antibacterial wipes on everything I’ve touched 2/3 times.   This is whenever I’ve been in a public place or whenever I’ve “had me time” (if you know what I mean). 

I can’t break the cycle of obsessively cleaning my hands - to the point where sometimes I have to antibac wipe parts of my bedding and wash my clothes instantly.  I’d appreciate any advice, whether it be a book, a pointer or if people think I should visit a doctor.  



Edited by KG970
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Hi KG and welcome to the forums :)

It sounds like what you are experiencing may indeed be OCD.

I would urge you to speak to your GP about your concerns and ask for a referral to your local IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service for some CBT therapy. Your GP may also wish to start you on some SSRI medication (eg Sertraline). OCD-UK have produced a GP 'ice breaker' sheet which you can take with you to your GP if you are concerned about how to explain things to a GP... it's available on the main website. 

The OCD-UK website also has lots of other useful resources to help you to learn more about OCD.

There are lots of excellent self help books out there, but my personal favourite is 'Break Free from OCD' by Fiona Challacombe and Prof Paul Salkovskis (green and white cover). This explains what OCD is and what you can do about it.

I could also plug my own book here... 'Defeating OCD using Exposure & Response Prevention: A Pocket Guide', which goes through how to do ERP exercises, but it may be best to start with a book that explains about what OCD is in a bit more detail first.

The good news is that you can recover from OCD, with the right help and support :)

Well done for reaching out... a big step to take :) but could be the start to your recovery.

These forums are a great source of expertise and support, so don't be afraid to use them :)

Best wishes, Catherine 





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Hello @KG970

Handwashing OCD means it is contamination OCD. In this people have feeling and thoughts that they are contaminated by germs and they try to keep themselves and well as other things clean so that they are safe from germs. Have you ever tried CBT or ERP therapy for OCD? If not then you should see to a therapist and try therapy and learn to expose yourself to intrusive thoughts. You can also read some articles on ERP therapy to know how it works and how you can expose yourself to your thoughts. I hope this will help you.

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Hi KG970,

Definitely follow Ocd10's & Albertina's advice, & learn how the OCD cycle works! 

3 hours ago, Albertina said:


Handwashing OCD means it is contamination OCD. In this people have feeling and thoughts that they are contaminated by germs and they try to keep themselves and well as other things clean so that they are safe from germs.

Hi Albertina, 

My OCD initially started with hand washing in about 2003/2004, & was contamination/germ fear related, but then it morphed into another unrelated theme & the contamination/germ fear aspect disappeared, but the compulsion of hand washing remained! So basically, I was washing my hands as a compulsion to neutralise any intrusive thought.

Having had a useless CBT therapist at the time, & a whole manner of different themes since,  I just think it important to work on a theme in a slow measured way, rather than doing too much and risk creating 2 more new themes, & if it does, recognise what is happening before it gets way out of control.   

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On 03/11/2020 at 23:17, Albertina said:

Handwashing OCD means it is contamination OCD.

While some people find it convenient to categorize OCD, its important to keep in mind that there is only one kind of OCD, and that is OCD.  Themes can (and often do) change over time, and the steps to get control back from OCD are basically the same, only the specific details change a little to address your current anxiety.  I recommend not putting too much emphasis on what "type" of OCD you have, and focus on understanding why CBT works and then applying it to your recovery, regardless of your current obsession (or obsessions).  That way you're better prepared no matter what OCD throws at you.

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Actually it’s the mind that is dirty & ones tries to clean it by by washing the hands.  How is that working?  Lady McBeth was like this.

Anyway, it’s one of the most common topics so search the forum for it  I saw a post where someone didn’t wash for 2 weeks that was successful (95%).


Edited by Handy
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