Doctors have discovered a type of OCD that isn’t based on the fear of a physical threat. Rather, it’s spawned by an aversion to specific human interactions.
Compulsive washing associated with obsessive compulsive disorder has long been understood to be the result of a fear of dirt and contaminants.
Now, doctors are saying that they’ve discovered a type of the disorder that isn’t based on the fear of a physical threat. Rather, it’s spawned by an aversion to specific human interactions.
Specialist Dr. Stanley Rachman has coined the condition “mental contamination” and says it can develop as a result of humiliation, harsh criticism and deceit.
It can also occur following a violent interaction such as a physical or sexual assault.
Among those affected by it, even the mention of the wrongdoer’s name can cause the onset of excessive cleansing episodes.
Developing treatment has proven to be a particular challenge, as the condition doesn’t lend itself to traditional OCD therapies, which are often based in repeated exposure to the thing the patient fears.
As tangible fear is something a person affected by mental contamination doesn’t have, doctors have worked to find alternative therapies.
Experts are currently testing cognitive approaches aimed at resolving the internal conflict by dissecting and examining the trigger incident itself.