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13 - Overcoming Fears of Contamination

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 May 2022

Lynne M. Drummond
Affiliation:
South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust
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Summary

Treatment for all types of OCD is essentially the same and features prolonged graded exposure in real life to the feared situation combined with self-imposed response prevention. The necessary steps to set about doing this have been fully explained in . This chapter will address additional factors and difficulties which may arise with contamination fears. The chapter will describe what constitutes contamination fears, and look at fear of dirt, germs, and illness as well as the idea of ‘mental contamination’, when an individual fears becoming ‘contaminated’ by an abstract agent such as ‘evil’ or ‘bad thoughts’. Risks and dangers of both OCD with contamination fears and risks of any treatment itself will be explored. Issues such as how the pandemic impacts on successful treatment and what should be done in such circumstances are also discussed. Personal stories will be used as a guide to help you plan your treatment.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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