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A Strange Obsession

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I have for as long as I can remember had a strange Obsession. It has to do with my little sister’s Dolls. Now, Bear with me here… I find them extremely disgusting. If I touch them, I feel the need to wash my hands for entire minutes until I feel somewhat clean again. I also have to wash the floor where they have been, I refuse to sit in the car where I know she has had her dolls and other miscellaneous playthings and I get upset when my family other than her touches them or plays with them, especially my dad because he makes the food and I get the idea that the ”Grossness” off the dolls, which is now on his hands will get into my food. I have this obsession with most of my sister’s (Or other children’s in general) playthings. The feeling of ‘grossness’ describes itself as a feeling of there being something invisible on my hands, something I can’t see, but feel. It’s like a layer of disgust and it’s contagious. Everything it touches will also be gross until washed thoroughly. Is it possible that I have OCD or some similar disorder? I’d like to get a name for this problem because it has plagued me my whole life and on numerous occasion caused arguments in my family, and I’d like to at least know what it is. Thank you.

A Strange Obsession

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While I cannot be certain about your situation, some of the symptoms you have described are consistent with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). You seem to believe that there is an invisible layer of filth associated with the dolls. As you have mentioned, you cannot actually see the filth but nonetheless you believe it to be there. Fear of contamination is one of the most common symptoms of OCD.

It is important that you believe in reality. Reality requires objective evidence. There is no objective reason to believe that dolls contain filth that may contaminate you. Technically, there may be some dust or dirt on the doll. If a doll or any other object is not cleaned on a regular basis it may collect dust or dirt but I suspect that your concern with the contamination of the dolls goes beyond this fact. Your fears seem to be associated with the possibility that the ‘grossness’ will contaminate you. This type of thinking is usually associated with OCD.

As with all other mental health disorders, the sooner you seek treatment the better. This is particularly true in the case of OCD because it tends to become progressively worse over time. There are proven effective treatments for OCD, including exposure prevention response therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Medication can also be helpful. If you click on the find help tab at the top of this page, you may be able to locate a therapist in your community. Search for a therapist who specializes in the treatment of OCD. I hope this answers your question. Please take care and good luck.

Kristina Randle

A Strange Obsession

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). A Strange Obsession. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.