Everyone knows that one person who is extremely meticulous when it comes to the things they do. It could be the way they obsess over the smallest details or the way they insist on doing something a particular way. They may even take things like personal hygiene and home safety to an extreme with constant hand washing/sanitizing or repeatedly checking to see if they locked the door. Most people who exhibit such traits are often dismissed as being eccentric or maybe just people who like doing things a certain way.
Sometimes these obsessions that people have may be caused by a mental condition known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is often portrayed in movies and on television so that we have stereotypes of people who are extremely finicky about something.
The nature of obsession may vary from person to person and varies greatly in intensity. Often the obsession can be for one particular action. Take Abdul for example. At 25, he seemed like a young man who was obsessed with cleanliness. At 27, he seemed like a nervous wreck thanks to his obsession with cleanliness. He would wash his hands several times a day to the point where the skin on his hands turned raw. He knew that there was something wrong with his behaviour but he had did not know how to help himself. His obsession went beyond just hand washing. He wanted to make sure everything around him was germ free and went on compulsively cleaning over and over again. There came a point when he would spend hours a day doing the same cleaning and washing tasks over and over again. With time his germ phobia prevented him from interacting with people (he couldn’t shake hands) and eventually using public transportation.
Needless to say these compulsions took a toll on his personal and professional life. With most of his day taken up by his compulsions, he lost much of his friends and also lost his job. Before long his condition took its toll on his body. Without eating much and constantly cleaning had reduced him to a bag of bones. Finally, he got isolated and hardly left home. Since he lived alone at the time, his condition almost went unnoticed till worried family members came to check on him. Shocked beyond belief at what he had been reduced to; they rushed him to emergency services.
With gradual treatment he gradually improved. With the help of cognitive-behavioural therapy from his clinical psychologist and a regular regimen of medication from his psychiatrist, he managed to ease himself back into life. His OCD, like that of many others, had no clear direct cause. Although the experience had traumatised him severely, eventually he managed to get back on track.
Please note that the information in this case study should not be considered as medical advice for an individual’s condition. If anyone shows or feel symptoms of a possible medical condition, we strongly encourage you to seek advice from your primary physician or a mental health professional for an evaluation as soon as possible.
The names been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.