Is it cleanliness or OCD?

We all love to be clean and neat and live in a clean place; however, if you find yourself washing your hands several times a day or feeling stressed just at the sight of any dust in the house, and you can't tolerate any spot you see, you might be dealing with a type of OCD related to cleanliness. Keep reading to discover if you're struggling with this disorder or love cleanliness.

Published on:Nov 17th 2023 |Updated on:Mar 10th 2024
الفرق بين الوسواس القهري وحب النظافة

What is OCD?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder associated with increasing anxiety, affecting mental health. It involves persistent, intrusive thoughts that drive a person to perform compulsive actions, potentially disrupting their daily life. For example, someone might be obsessed with their home being burglarized, leading them to install multiple locks and check all doors every hour.

Symptoms of OCD

  • Repeated uncontrollable thoughts.
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Involuntary, compulsive actions due to obsessions and recurring thoughts.
  • Difficulty in carrying out daily life due to obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions.
  • Difficulty completing any task.
  • Lack of self-confidence.
  • Fear of illness.
  • Fear of failure.
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships with others.


Experts are still unsure about the exact cause of OCD. However, there are several theories linking the onset of this disorder to factors such as:


There are various effective treatments for OCD, including:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Therapists work to help individuals change recurring thoughts causing obsessions and compulsive actions.

Exposure and response prevention (ERP)

Individuals are exposed to feared situations or objects, with the prevention of the corresponding compulsive response. For example, if someone fears germs, a therapist may have them touch a doorknob without immediately sanitizing their hands.


In some cases, treatment may involve medications prescribed by a psychiatric doctor, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Remember, if you suspect you may be dealing with OCD, it's essential to consult with a mental health professional for proper evaluation and guidance.

The Difference Between OCD and a Genuine Love for Cleanliness

Cleanliness is fundamental to public health, ensuring our protection from diseases and facilitating a healthy life. However, excessive cleaning and experiencing stress when things are not perfectly clean may warrant a closer look. Frequent cleaning and intense focus on cleanliness are common symptoms of obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Normal Care for Cleanliness

  • Regular body hygiene through consistent bathing.
  • Washing hands when dirty and before eating.
  • Household cleaning.
  • Doing Laundry.
  • Sanitization when necessary.
  • Washing vegetables and fruits.
  • Avoiding contact with individuals carrying contagious diseases.

Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior

  • Washing hands multiple times throughout the day.
  • Sanitizing or washing hands after touching anything.
  • There is an urgent need to arrange things in a specific manner.
  • Constantly sanitizing surfaces.
  • Spending an extended time cleaning the house to the extent of hindering other tasks.
  • Washing vegetables and fruits for an extended period and using excessive water.
  • Taking exaggerated measures to avoid illness.
  • Avoiding social interactions for fear of catching infections.
  • Avoiding crowded places.
  • Refraining from using public restrooms.
  • Constantly searching for cleaning and sanitization methods.
  • Purchasing numerous cleaning and sanitization products.


If you're experiencing these symptoms and feel that your intense desire for cleanliness is affecting your life and activities, consult a mental health professional for an assessment and guidance towards appropriate treatment.



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