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Obsession for cleanliness: causes, characteristics and advice

Obsession for cleanliness: causes, characteristics and advice

July 14, 2024

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a anxiety disorder that characterizes recurrent intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive acts or behaviors (compulsions) that the person performs to avoid the discomfort (anxiety) that the obsessive thoughts provoke. One of the most common OCDs is obsessive compulsive disorder cleaning .

Characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder by cleaning

What in principle can be a good thing, and cleaning can be positive to avoid diseases, the OCD for cleaning becomes for people who suffer it in a severe disorder that negatively affects your well-being .


The irrational thoughts that can lead to the act of cleaning can be different between person and person. For example, some individuals may have superstitious thoughts that cause anxiety if they do not perform acts to reduce their anxious symptoms, others may think that everything is contaminated and if they are not cleaned they will suffer serious illnesses, and others may bring order and cleanliness from the home to the extreme, as they continuously seek the symmetry of the objects. Regardless of irrational thinking, compulsion in this type of disorder will be characterized by cleanliness and hygiene behaviors.

These people suffer repetitive thoughts that cause anxiety. Compulsive behavior only serves to calm them for a short time, which ends up producing a vicious circle, as irrational thinking reappears again and again after compulsive behavior.


Cognitive variables related to OCD

There are multiple cognitive variables related to OCD. According to him Obsessive-Compulsive Cognitions Working Group (OCCWG), the most important are:

  • Intolerance to uncertainty
  • Overestimation of the threat
  • Perfectionism
  • Excessive responsibility
  • Beliefs about the importance of thoughts
  • Beliefs about the importance of controlling one's thoughts
  • Rigidity of ideas

Beliefs about the importance of one's thoughts refers to the need to control all thoughts at all times. Subjects with OCD they try hard not to think about a specific thing or to eliminate certain types of thoughts .

How to stop the obsession with cleaning

Any form of obsessive-compulsive disorder may have different levels of severity . In very serious cases you should always seek the help of a specialist to handle the situation. But in less severe cases of the disorder, the advice we present below may be useful. If you suffer obsession with cleanliness, you can follow these tips:


Relax before cleaning

Any type of obsessive-compulsive behavior has its origin in the need to reduce anxious symptoms . It may be due to a superstitious thought or to the idea that if everything is not clean a disaster may occur. The intention of compulsion is to reduce anxiety, but there are other ways to relax. For example, practice Mindfulness, yoga or listen to a relaxation CD.

Break the obsessive routine

It is common in anxiety disorders for psychologists to help patients test irrational thoughts, so that they can see for themselves that absolutely nothing happens when they are exposed to the dreaded situation. Of course, the exhibition must be progressive. For example, first you can delay compulsive behavior 1 minute, then 2, then 3, and so on. Gradually you can see that, in reality, Obsessive thinking is irrational and catastrophic thoughts are not met .

Do not be such a perfectionist

Occasionally, obsessive-compulsive cleansing disorder may indicate that the individual has a perfectionist personality . The perfectionism It refers to the belief that perfection must always be achieved in everything that is done. This belief can cause serious problems of anxiety and, therefore, compulsive behaviors. Understanding that imperfection is common in all human beings can help reduce anxiety. If it is not possible to do it, you should go to a psychologist, because perfectionism it also affects health and well-being .


OCD Symptoms: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms (July 2024).


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