Obsession for cleaning: what is it, symptoms and treatment
Cleaning obsession is a situation that can be caused by an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), where people feel the intense desire to maintain cleanliness, order and hygiene. The mania of wanting everything clean on the ground affects the well-being of the person who suffers, it can also cause allergies to those who live in the same house, which can compromise the whole family.
Suicide and the germs present day by day are, in part, responsible for the strengthening of the immune system, especially during childhood, helping the body to build its own defenses. For this reason, excessive cleaning and the use of products that promise to kill 99.9% of the germs can harm the construction of necessary defenses, affecting health.
When the obsession with keeping the house clean grows and becomes the main task of the day, this could be a sign of a psychological upheaval.
Some of the signs that could indicate the presence of an OCD for cleanliness and organization include:
- Allocate more than 3 hours a day to cleaning the house;
- Presence of reddening or heridas in the hands, which indicate the constant need to wash or disinfect the hands respectively;
- Exaggerated concern about the skin, germs or mites and being always disinfecting the sofa and the refrigerator, for example;
- To participate in social events, such as fiestas de cumpleaños, so as not to waste time;
- Don’t let events take place in your own house because you want to keep it clean at all times;
- In the most serious cases, the family itself may have restrictions to certain places in the house, in addition to never receiving visitors so as not to expose the floor;
- Constant need to check if everything is clean in its place;
- Need to clean objects that are generally not cleaned, such as credit cards, cell phones, milk cartons, the car key, for example.
La manía de limpieza changes to upheaval when the habits of January go from being healthy to being a daily obligation, dominating the life of the person. In the presence of these signs, it is recommended to seek professional help from a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Normally, the signs start slowly and little by little intensify. Initially, the person starts washing his hands repeatedly, then he washes his hands and his arms, then washes his shoulders every time he remembers, being able to do it once an hour.
The exact cause of OCD due to cleaning and organization is still not completely clear, but there are some factors that can trigger it, such as:
- Family history of OCD;
- Changes in chemical substances in the brain, such as serotonin;
- Stress or traumatic experiences;
- Anxiety disorders;
- Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, brain injury due to trauma, Tourette’s syndrome or Huntington’s disease.
Furthermore, the lack of ability to face uncertainty or a greater sense of responsibility also seems to be related to a greater risk of developing OCD.
How is the treatment performed?
The treatment for OCD for cleaning and organization is a psychological disorder that must be treated with the help of a psychologist and a psychiatrist, as it could be necessary to take antidepressants and/or anxiolytics, as well as performing psychotherapy. Normally, the affected people also suffer other upheavals such as anxiety and depression and, for this reason, they need professional help so that they can overcome this illness.
Medications can take up to 3 months to begin to have the expected effect, however, to complement the treatment, a cognitive behavioral therapy can be carried out, as this is the best strategy to cure OCD.
See how the treatment for OCD is carried out.
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