Do I Have OCD?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From United Arab Emirates: I’m 14 and Okay, I’ve recently gotten this feeling this year, where I believe that everything I touch is gross and icky. Every time I touch something, be it a book, a plate, a paper, even when I type at my computer, I feel gross and I have this really bad urge to wash my hands a lot. And I do. I use too much soap cause I believe it would clean my hands more. Even if my hand weren’t dirty, I would wash them anyway. If I don’t wash my hands in more than an hour, I would freak out and find something to clean them with, be it a hand sanitizer, wet wipes, or just water maybe. I’ve researched it, and all the results I had gotten about this is the Obsessive Compulsive disorder, or OCD. I just want some help from a therapist that could actually help since I’ve only gone to about 2 therapists before but have never told them about this issue.

B: I’m so glad you wrote. You’ve suffered long enough. I’m guessing your hands are hurting, too.

Here’s the truth: Therapists can only help if you tell them what the problem is. I wish we had the power to read minds. People often have difficulty sharing something they are embarrassed about. It would save a lot of time and, actually, it would save people a lot of pain, if we could look into your eyes and understand what’s going on. But until we find some magical mind-reading power source, we therapists have to count on our clients to do their best to share what is troubling them.

Please try therapy again. If you can, find someone who uses a cognitive behavioral approach. It’s very effective for situations like yours. If you think you will have trouble talking about the hand-washing, just bring your letter and this response with you to the first session and let the therapist read it. That will give you a positive start.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Jun 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). Do I Have OCD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/08/do-i-have-ocd-4/