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What are the signs and symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder?

DOCTOR OF THE MONTH - Dec 2015
Dec 2015
User rating for this question
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Answered by

Psychologist
Practicing since : 1993
Answered : 5812 Questions
Question
Hello Sir..

A belated merry Christmas to you...My concern is related to contracting blood borne infections.

I have some occasional intrusive thoughts about contamination worries. I recognize now my symptoms to be a bit of contamination OCD. Although I have kept my compulsive behaviors at a bare minimum, still I cannot control the obsessive thoughts which occurs occasionally.

To let you know, my contamination fears has now been replaced by some other fear about spreading infection to others. Now I do not fear for myself, but I fear for some one else that might come in contact with my body fluid eg blood. I know I am not infected with anything, displaying no symptoms, no risky behaviors ever, also tested for all blood borne infections last year all non reactive. However nonexistent this risk may be, I cannot let it go off my mind.

Keeping my present situation in mind, I want to ask you the below points.

1) These thoughts often present me with some moral dilemma in situations where there is a cut, scratch, break in skin due to some small accident maybe at home or at a public place. Sometimes my imagination runs if I have caught something or then if I am in the window period of hepatitis b or c, if I need to get tested to confirm absence. Also, I tend to think after if I am at risk of spreading infection to others.

Here I want to ask you, should I associate these sort of small accidents to any form of blood borne infection risk and do I need to get tested after such incidents. What should people normally do? Can I continue on my normal life without any infection worries? The thinking that I need to get tested after such incidents often puts me in an ethical conflict.

2) I often take a lot of time in cleaning up in situations eg suppose I cleaned up my nose, there was a little blood in my fingers. I obsess about removing all traces of blood, still I have doubt if my cleaning was adequate enough. Should I clean up after such cases, as I would normally wash my hands (to remind you, this has been a childhood habit and I never cared about until 26 when my worries started). What do people normally do?

3) As you know, in an XXXXXXX household, there are many instances when food is shared together between family members. I am a bit concerned about transfer of saliva too. I tend to also worry if I washed my hands properly after eating something and if I have contaminated someone else's food.

4) To summarize, I am sorry to have put up a very detailed description to take up your time, but I need your expert opinion as You have been in the field of infectious diseases and you are well aware of modes of transmission. I think myself that the intrusive thoughts are a distorted way of thinking. I think that a normal care free life ( free from obvious risk factors) can save people from infections and one need not go through the extra precautions.
Wed, 30 May 2018 in Relationship
 
 
Answered by Dr. K. V. Anand 17 hours later
Brief Answer:
Is it OCD or just intrusive thoughts ?

Detailed Answer:
Dear Bswjt XXXXXXX thanks for the question.

I do understand that you have obsessive thoughts. Obsessive thoughts are part of OCD. People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have intrusive thoughts (or images) that bother them. These can be thoughts about making mistakes, harming someone, contamination, disease, religious preoccupation, fears of impulses or desires, or just about anything that you might consider dangerous, disgusting or dirty. But please understand, obsessive thoughts alone cannot be OCD. They are just obsessive thoughts.

In your case, you are worried about contamination. I wish to ask you the following questions:

1. In a day how many times you come across such obsessive thoughts, on an average ? Are they too frequent ?
2. Do those thoughts come when you are busy with your work and games etc ?
3. What do you usually do when such intrusive thoughts come ?
4. Are you married ? Provide me your family details.

To answer your first question - No. You need not to get worried about such small cuts and wounds, scratches etc. You need to know more about the causes of all those diseases you are worrying about. For that you could study the whole diseases articles in depth.

To answer your second question - You don't have to thoroughly clean yourself. As you would do your cleaning daily, it in itself clarifies as thorough cleaning. Usually people take bath daily with soap and just that. Even cleaning nostrils are just done twice a week or so. There is no danger of contamination.

To answer your third question - You don't have to worry much about the saliva issue. In XXXXXXX there are millions of households where same practice is going on and you know none of them are infected. So cleaning hands is more than enough.

To answer your forth question - You are welcome to provide detailed information and various questions. But once you now the answer from an expert, you should quip it. That is where your obsessive intrusive thoughts work.

These obsessive intrusive thoughts, initially, come out of lack of knowledge. Then it becomes a habit. You need cognitive restructuring (under Cognitive Behavior Therapy) to overcome your habit of intrusive thoughts.

I need more of your symptoms list so as to diagnose your behavior properly.

Take care

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