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Contamination OCD

I am new here so hi everyone :)

I have been suffering with contamination OCD for the last 3 years and now I have become so aware of it and finally decided to seek help. (Seeing a psychologist at the moment.)

So basically I am not afraid of falling ill or dying from germs but when I am in contact whether is by touching or by just being around things like doorknobs, bins, public facilities I get this anxious feeling that I need to wash my hands or shower asap.

Anyone else out there with this type of OCD? If so I would like to hear about your thoughts and compulsions and also about how do you cope with this.

20 Replies

I too suffer with Contamination OCD. I would love to offer advice but unfortunately I am still trying to deal with these fears. We are not alone - everything I have read and learned says that ERP is the way to get better- I could face my fears and do exposures but what I really would love to learn is how to think differently about the way contamination spreads- I guess that would involve more Cognitive Therapy? Anybody else have any input? Why do we have these same ideas about germs and contamination???


Hi, we are not alone indeed. I am currently under an ERP treatment and to be honest it helps, talking about it and putting in practise the excersices recommended helps. You definitely learn a way around facing your fears and realising that change is needed for you to be mentally healthy.

Are you aware of it? Do you recognise is a bit extreme? I definitely encourage you to start ERP as soon as you can.

And after hearing from my specialist our brains have just fallen into these obsessions and compulsions, the causes are never clear because it could be many things such as genes, brain function, loss or childbirth, lack of serotonin, etc but is important to understand that is excessive and help is needed.

Love to hear more about you :)


Hi Im quite similar I don't touch most of the things in my home and my bed is my only safe space. I'm showering every night but I don't feel I'm coping. I am hoping to see the doctor this week again

It's horrible I know but we just got to try hang in there.


I am the same my bed is my sanctuary but is okay to feel like this.

In what phase of seeking treatment are you? as you said you will be seeing a doctor but are you seeing a therapist too or hoping to be referred?

Love to hear more about you :)


Yeah it can make life very difficult though.

I tried low intensity cbt with a therapist under the NHS so they only get a certain amount of sessions but I don't feel that helped me really I actually fell I've been getting progressively worse. I've also tried fluwotine and citalopram but I wasn't getting much from them and I've even tried hypnotherapy.

So today I'm going to speak with the doc about othe medications and treatments because I need to get this under some form of control!

I'll definitely update you with what happens at my appointment of you'd like


I can see you have tried a couple of things.

At the moment I am seeing my university therapist otherwise as a student I don't think I would be able to afford this sessions. I don't feel like taking medication at all.

So far I feel like OCD takes over me sometimes and other days I feel like I can cope with it or find a way around with different exercises like using a tissue instead of washing my hands, meditation and or yoga.

And yes please, update me after you see the doctor :)


I'm going to try get in with my uni counsellors but at the moment my ocd is constant everything I do from getting up to sleeping has me on edge and overthinking about what of I sit there or I can't eat that because last time I had it I was 'contaminated' and so now that food or place is too

Ill keep you posted


I know right, the brain can't stop working and sometimes is really exhausting.

But yeah let me know ;)


Me again, so I went to the doctor and he gave me sertraline to take everyday and propranolol for those especially bad days. He's also going to refer me to the mental health people. I also took it upon myself to email uni to get in with there councellor too.

Random question I assume with you saying about excessive showering and washing etc your hands aren't in the best shape and if so do you know of any creams that are helpful my hand are destroyed at the minute and my skin feels so tight as well as my hair being pretty badly damaged from all the washing.



I am glad to hear the doctor has sent you some medication and I really hope it works alongside therapy.

Get on that uni counsellor without a doubt.

Cream wise I use 3 brands Avène cicalfate repair cream or Avène cold cream, Eucerin PH5 extra hydrating cream and Neutrogena concentrated unescented hand cream.

They really work on my hypersensitive dry skin.

Hair wise I only use Aussie and Ogx brands. They are amazing.

Hope it helps!


I have Eucerin hand cream which is a really good one for dry and damaged hands. They do a range of moisturizing creams etc and they might be helpful for you. Another good one is E45 Intense Recovery which you can use all over. Cetaphil is another good one.



Can you work with ocd?


To some extent it is normal to feel a bit squeamish about doorknobs, bins and other things that lots of people you don't know touch. If I have been travelling on public transport I usually wash my hands when I get in, particularly if I'm going to be handling food.

Apart from that I do a lot of hand washing anyway. In my case it is not so much germs as washing off negative thoughts about things. I know it doesn't sound like it makes much sense, but neither do other forms of OCD.

All forms of OCD are very unpleasant, but contamination OCD can be particularly difficult because you are often afraid of touching something and contaminating it.

I note that in one of your posts you say you are having therapy with a university therapist. That is good, and always remember that you shouldn't have to pay for therapy as it is available on the NHS. Congratulations for continuing with your course in spite of OCD!

I learnt a couple of tips in therapy which you may find useful One is to say to yourself that you won't worry about having to wash, or whatever, right now, but you will give yourself ten minutes of worry, say at a quarter to four or whenever. Then a quarter to four comes and goes and you've forgotten all about it!

Another tip is to think of the panic as like a wave that swells and then breaks, or like clouds that gather over your head and then move on and disperse. It's not easy, but you can be reassured that eventually the feelings will go down.


Is great to hear from you! I am the same, as soon as I come in I will wash my hands, I don't usually use public transport but when I do.. sitting on the chairs and using the handles is a nightmare and it makes me feel so anxious and uncomfortable, truly awful!

I didn't know the NHS provided therapy for everyone, never looked into as I already knew my therapist at uni.

And thanks! is quite hard to attend uni sometimes but I won't give up on this!

I actually love one of your tips because I usually get really obsessed and compulsive after a long day out and about and that's when I wash my hands excessively, shower, clean my flat and all that, so I guess I could look at it in the way that I will allow myself to feel like this and then I will let everything go and feel better.

I feel like I know that feelings will go down as you said because I know that if I do certain rituals I will the satisfaction I need and everything will be normal again.

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I too have contamination OCD. I cope by getting up really early in the morning to race against time, because my rituals of handwashing and cleaning to avoid possible contamination of germs take up the majority of my time. I don't have the money to pay for a qualified therapist to help me with CBTor ERP, so basically I just talk to my therapist about it instead of truly getting the help that I need. I hate seeing my hands get rough and dry/ cracking from so much handwashing. I pray for a normal life.



I do also give myself extra time in the morning cause I know I will take longer but I guess this is not bad, at least we allow ourselves to go through it without adding more anxiety.

I am happy to hear you are seeing a therapist cause I'm pretty sure that is helping and if not it will do!

Is just a case of being aware that is excessive what we do but we don't need to give ourselves a hard time about it, instead do yoga, meditation and a little exercise I have been recommended at the minute is instead of washing my hands use a dry tissue and really "dry wipe off the germs/dirt", this is a way of telling your brain "is all good, is washed and clean". Sometimes I get almost a complete satisfaction and other times I don't even try cause my brain is asking for water and soap.



I had same problems so I can understand you


Sometimes I hate my life😞😭


Hey, I know sometimes is really hard but please hang on there.

You are not alone and we have to keep going for our loved ones and ourselves, this can’t defeat us.

Love and support.

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Thanks so much!


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