Living with Contamination OCD

Contamination OCD is a well-known subset of OCD whereby sufferers are terrified that they might become contaminated by germs or get sick. 25% of OCD sufferers in the U.S. have it, and it’s the most common subset of OCD in the world.

The most common obsession associated with Contamination OCD is fearing you’ll get a terminal illness like AIDS or cancer. Everyday situations like touching door handles and subway poles, or sharing a glass of water, can make you extremely anxious. You’re also scared that someone else who’s touched these objects could be contaminated.

Is Recovery Possible for Me?

Yes! People with Contamination OCD can get much better through Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP). ERP is when you voluntarily expose yourself to the source of your fear over and over and over again, without acting out any compulsion to neutralize or stop the fear. By repeatedly facing something you’re afraid of, you force your brain to recognize how irrational it is.

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