Sometimes washing hands become a compulsion or neurosis.
People wash their hands so often that their skin gets so thin, that it bleeds everytime after they have washed their hands.
Do do not wash their hands for hygienic reasons anymore.
They wash it almost every minute.
And of course that is not meant by 'good hygiene'.
What is an 'obsessive-compulsive neurosis'
Constantly washing your hands, just checking again the lock of the door before you leave, constantly cleaning the house; things which are common practice for most people. When you have obsessive-compulsive neurosis it's quite something else. Checking that door can take half an hour, just don't mention cleaning the house. People with an obsessive-compulsive neurosis are so to say addicted to repetitive rituals.
or 'obsessive-compulsive disorder'
An obsessive-compulsive neurosis is also called obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is rather a mouthful. Someone with such a neurosis often suffer from obsessions and compulsions. A compulsion is the result of an obsession. With an obsession people have strong obsessive thoughts, which arouse fear. To reduce their fear they develop compulsions.
You are so afraid of vermin so you clean your house all the time. When someone has dropped by, you immediately clean your house afterwards. The obsession here is the fear of vermin. This obsession causes the compulsions to clean everything.
An estimate of 15 out of 1000 people suffer from obsessive-compulsive neurosis.
Hosophobia & imaginary thoughts
Hosophobia is also another obsessive-compulsive neurosis. What is it like to be confronted with imaginary thoughts?
Two tests which imitate what you really feel with imaginary fear like hosophobia.
The first test is the white-bear-experiment:
Try to avoid thinking of a white bear for two minutes. There is no white bear!
Strangely enough the bear is the only thing you can think of.
It intrudes your mind while you try to think of other things.
The second test:
Write down: Ï wish that....( at the dots you fill in the name of someone beloved.)
Done? Then you go on with: “at the end of the afternoon has a terribly car-accident”. Most people will have a moment of doubt afterwards.
You would rather not want to write it down. You will? Then you will probably scratch out the sentence as quick as possible.
People with an obsessive-compulsive neurosis often think in the same way.Mostly they know that their thoughts are imaginary. Just like you know that the sentence on the paper is hardly affected by the real events. Still you, and the person with obsessive-compulsive neurosis, have a tendency to come into action.
An obsessive-compulsive disorder like hosophobia doesn't necessarily have to be an obsession. Hosophobia can also be a fear without apparently a direct action. This fear doesn't have to have a direct action, so it appears.
How does this obsessive-compulsive neurosis develop?
It isn't easy to tell. There are 3 influences why such a neurosis could develop.
- Biological influences:
A shortage of serotonine could earlier develop a neurosis. Serotonine is a substance in the brains which transfers the nerve impulse. A shortage of serotonine can be hereditary. Due to this it's explicable why obsessive-compulsive neurosis develops more in one family than in another.
- Sociological influences:
An obsessive-compulsive neurosis could develop after a drastically event. Someone has deceased, you've had a terrible accident, or even a move can cause the development of obsessive-compulsive neurosis. Also the way you were raised can be a factor to develop an obsessive-compulsive neurosis. For instance your parents, they could give you unintentionally, their own fears during your upbringing, which can bothers you later on in your life.
- Personally influences:
Perhaps your characteristics have the most influence on the development of an obsessive-compulsive neurosis. For instance when you are uncertain or very shy, or you can't deal with your feelings.
Hosophobia and your surroundings?
Many people who suffer from hosophobia can hide this for their immediate vicinity for years. They are ashamed of it, or do not know how to handle it. When their behaviour eventually comes to light (because almost nobody can hide this during his life), the closest relatives will mostly suffer.
For instance family members have to get rid of their dirty clothes and take a shower immediatly after they've come home.
Many members of the family try to help the one with the hosophobia. This might work when they are there at the moment, but when there aren't any members of the family around, the one suffering from hosophobia immediatly feels responsible again and acts compulsively from scratch.
What can be done about it?
Some people find it quite a relief to have behaviour therapy, others prefer to take medicines.
It appears that having behaviour therapy is the most succesfull method to treat an obsessive-compulsive neurosis. It seems to work for three out of four people seeing a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Your hosophobia doesn't have to disappear totally but can often be reduced. Behaviour therapy consists of a few specifically exercises which expose someone's fears step by step. You could think of a time schedule for cleaning the bathroom. The therapy stimulates them to handle their responsibilities and gives them assignments to do at home.
Be aware of the fact that behaviour therapy only really works when someone is motivated to expose himself to this therapy despite his fears. Antidepressant and tranquillizers can reduce the neurosis. Also fluoxetine is used against hosophobia.