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Any compulsive handwashers who can relate


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So part of my OCD outbreak is mysophobia, which I'm working on.  Also excessive handwashing.  Excessive,  My hands are in shreds, and my mom has given me a great cream that helps.  The problem is it helps too much.  I feel like moisturizer is actually preventing the soap from doing its job, because the soap doesn't "feel right" because my hands aren't screaming.  Like it's forming a barrier between my soap and the hands, but the bacteria are still getting through.  Anyone else ever go through this?  Recommendations for a workaround?

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You don't mention whether or not you're taking any meds. If you're not, you should consider taking some. I've taken Luvox in the past for my OCD and it made a HUGE difference. I hadn't realized how much of my day had been devoted to doing some of the things I felt compelled to do every day, over and over. Luvox calmed that part of my brain and made me feel so much better. I'm not saying you should take Luvox but if you're concerned and want to get this under control, it might be a good idea to check out meds with your pdoc.

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This is a pretty obnoxious suggestion, but have you thought about mindfulness based cognitive therapy?

You'll learn to just sit and observe the desires/urges without acting on them.

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It often seems as though there is an inherent perversity in OCD. Whatever you try to make the compulsions more manageable, you won't feel better until you've suffered sufficently. I wash my hands with face soap which feels the same as real soap but doesn't strip the oil from your skin so much. It helps a little, but the only work around which seems to last is not to do the compulsions at all. I hated CBT, but it does work well for specific compulsions like handwashing.

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Well, you basically learn to develop an observing state where you watch your thoughts come and go, just noticing that they are thoughts. Drop the "story" of the thought, and just name it "thinking" or "urge" or something like that.

 

It comes out of a Buddhist practice called vipassana, also called insight meditation in the west.

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Well, hopefully the CBT will work for me.  I think I'm starting to be able to reason my way through some of the other compulsions (laundry issues, how long bacteria can live on surfaces) but the handwashing is going to be a killer.  And I will try the mindless stuff.  

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