Compulsory washing


Of the Compulsory washing represents a form of Obsessive-compulsive disorder The affected persons feel compelled to keep looking at their own body or individual body parts (e.g. hands) or washing certain items.

These washing processes are usually excessive. Behind this is often the fear of certain bacteria or diseases that need to be avoided. Within the compulsive acts, those affected are usually guided by obsessive thoughts that prevent those affected from abandoning their compulsive behavior.

In general, the emergence of compulsory washing can be explained by two different motivations:

  1. The fear from strangers bacteria / Pathogens or dirt
  2. Liberation from sinful thoughts


  • Recurring thoughts cleaning or behavior in which the person concerned has to repeatedly clean himself or other objects.
  • Some of the people affected understand that their thoughts on cleaning or their compulsive washing behavior inappropriate and is exaggerated.
  • The obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behavior constitute one significant impairment in the lives of those affected and are experienced as stressful.
  • People try to ignore or ignore the obsessive-compulsive thought or behavior transfer this through other thoughts or through occupation with other activities.


Of the Compulsory washing occurs as a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as the Control, most common among obsessive-compulsive disorder. The disease is often recognized very late, as those affected do not see a doctor until after about 8-10 years. Overall, about six times more women suffer from compulsory washing than men.


Of the Compulsory washing begins relatively late for those affected, compared to the beginning of the compulsory control. Usually the disorder does not appear until the age of 27. Due to the relatively high number of unreported cases (very few of those affected see a doctor directly), it is difficult to provide reliable information about the actual onset of the obsessive-compulsive disorder. If the obsessive-compulsive disorder is only discovered many years later, the disorder may have developed into a chronic course. In general, obsessions can occur together or separately from the obsessions.


A conversation with the doctor or therapist can clarify whether there is an obligation to wash. This usually uses special questionnaires (see Diagnostics of obsessive-compulsive disorder), with the help of which it is possible to identify whether the characteristics of compulsory washing are present or not.

Another possibility is the so-called. Behavioral tests. Here, the people concerned should put themselves in the dreaded situation. At the same time, the treating doctor or therapist collects the subjective experience of the person and the vegetative symptoms of the person concerned in this situation.


For the treatment of a serious obsessive-compulsive disorder, the combination of more medicinal and psychological Treatment method proven successful.
Through drug treatment, it is possible to relieve the patient of the suffering (resulting from the consequences of the obsessive-compulsive disorder) relatively promptly and to increase the quality of life.
The psychological treatment will make it possible for the person affected to live again in their society in the long term. As part of the psychological treatment, the person concerned slowly learns how to deal with their obsessive-compulsive behavior and obsessive-compulsive thoughts. The aim of psychological treatment is the permanent liberation of the person concerned from their obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions.

With the one described here Compulsory washing obsessive thoughts can arise, such as "If I don't wash my hands now, I may get dangerous pathogens from other people“.
These thoughts can mean Exposure therapy be treated. The people should mentally put themselves in the dreaded situations (e.g. in a department store do not wash their hands after touching the doorknobs). You should grapple with the situation until the existing fears are barely there.

Another possibility is the cognitive restructuring The persons concerned should, among other things, deal with the probability with which the dreaded event could occur. In addition, those affected learn to formulate sentences in the obsessive-compulsive situations with which they can get rid of the obsessive-compulsive behavior / obsessive-compulsive thoughts.


Like the others Types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder the psychological treatment of compulsory washing appears to be the most promising. However, the medical accompaniment of a psychological treatment can in the short term make everyday life easier.


So far it is not possible one Obsessive-compulsive disorder to prevent. However, science agrees that there are certain behaviors that promote compulsive behavior as well as obsessive-compulsive thoughts. For example, an autonomous parenting style can result in children becoming less likely to develop obsessive-compulsive disorder later on.

More info on obsessive-compulsive disorder

Further information on this topic can also be found at:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Causes of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder