What Is Obsessive Cleaning? How Is the Treatment?

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Obsessions are feelings, thoughts, and obsessions that a person can’t stop having. Compulsion is a behavioral response that is adapted to avoid the destructive emotions that these obsessions create. When these two concepts merge and repeat one after the other, the psychological disorder obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) emerges. Obsessive cleaning is another issue that arises from obsessive-compulsive disorders and adds to the complexity of one’s life.
Obsessive cleaning, which various factors can trigger, is frequently linked to past life traumas. As a result of the experience that arouses negative emotions in the person, they show the behavior of cleaning everything they think is dirty as a defense method to avoid these emotions.

What Causes Obsessive Cleaning?

Although the cause of obsessive cleaning is not fully understood, biological and environmental factors are believed to be effective.

Environmental Factors

Environmental stressors influence obsessive cleaners. Some environmental factors and severe life changes can make symptoms worse. Some of these factors are:

I have sporadic OCD cleaning moments around the house. But then I get lazy and I’m cured. It’s a very inconsistent personality trait

Chris Hemsworth Australian actor
  • Abuse
  • Relationship concerns
  • Disease
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Changes or problems with work or school
  • Changes in living situation

Biological Factors

Hundreds of billions of neurons in the brain must communicate with one another for the body to operate normally, and neurons communicate using electrical signals. Neurotransmitters are molecules that help convey electrical messages from neuron to neuron. There is increased activity in some areas of the brain in the case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The brain gets significantly more hyperactive when a patient has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

What Are the Symptoms of Obsessive Cleaning?

Obsessive cleaners are initially perceived as excessively clean, but this situation eventually causes problems for those around them. Many do not want guests to come because their house will be dirty. When someone comes from outside, they may even ask them to take off their clothes and take a shower immediately before entering the house. They do not allow the house’s rooms to be used so that the house does not get dirty. Obsessive cleaners can’t spare time for their family to deal with cleaning. They constantly argue with the people they live with. This situation can sometimes lead to problems in their marriage and even divorce. Despite this, they can’t give up their obsession with cleanliness. Some behaviors are seen in obsessive cleaning:

  • Spending a long time on the toilet
  • Washing hands constantly
  • Bathing for more than an hour
  • Using excessive soap and disinfectants
  • Washing everything bought from the market repeatedly
  • Cleaning the house thoroughly every day
  • Washing clothes more than once
  • Throwing clothes that were worn outside into the washing machine as soon as you enter the house

How Does Coronavirus Affect Obsessive Cleaners?

Those with obsessive personality disorder are perhaps the most impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. All specialists agree that the coronavirus is mostly spread through contact with the environment through hands. This information adds to the anxiousness of those who are already obsessed. Obsessive cleaners continuously wash their hands, scrub the house, wipe doorknobs, and clean the toilet and bathroom with exceptional care. With the emergence of the coronavirus, these people are unable to relax in any way. They are forced to engage in obsessive behaviors to cope with their concerns about a virus.

How Is Obsessive Cleaning Treated?

Even though compulsive cleaning treatment is a long and demanding process, it should not be overlooked. Behavioral treatments, also known as psychoanalysis, one of the educational therapy methods, are used when pharmacological treatment is not required. The goal of psychotherapy sessions is for the individual to contact the area more frequently because it is dirty to become accustomed to it. Antidepressant medicines, which are prescribed only when necessary, have a direct therapeutic effect by changing serotonin levels and the benefits of improving motivation and facilitating the impact of psychotherapy. An average of 12 years of drug use and cognitive behavioral therapy treatment support leads to nearly 100% success

  1. Q and A: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
    https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=1&contentid=633
  2. ACUTE ONSET AND REMISSION OF OBSESSIONS AND COMPULSIONS FOLLOWING MEDICAL ILLNESSES AND STRESS
    https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/35219/8_ftp.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
  3. Obsessive-compulsive disorder during COVID-19: Turning a problem into an opportunity?
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7644184/
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