Contamination is one of the more “known/publicized” OCD categories and often surrounds fear of disease and germs. Contamination OCD can result in the fear of touching items, being around certain people and being touched by people. Contamination fears might include fears of germs, dirt, bodily wastes or fluids and chemicals or may also include fears of blood-borne illness and disease (such as fear of contracting HIV from touching a doorknob, etc.). Related compulsions include excessive and repeated hand washing, showering, bathing, and house cleaning. Individuals with contamination OCD frequently avoid people, public places, change clothes, and throw out/clean items they believe to be contaminated.

Videos: Germs and Contamination

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Ben Eckstein, LCSW, discusses contamination--one of the multiple forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Ben Eckstein, LCSW, discusses the differences between germaphobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Germaphobia is the fear of germs. Germaphobia can lead to contamination OCD if it causes the inability to function during the day.

Ben Eckstein, LCSW, discusses contamination obsessions and how they cause large amounts of distress.

Ben Eckstein, LCSW, discusses the use of exposure and response prevention (ERP) when treating contamination obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He explains hierarchies, which are the ratings of triggers that cause the least amount of anxiety to the most amount anxiety.