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Dr Miriam: CONSTANT WASHING SENDS US CRAZY.

Dear Miriam

OUR 26-year-old daughter endlessly washes her hands and worries over germs and dirt.

She's making her life miserable and driving us crazy. If she touches a doorknob she has to wash her hands and says I don't wash dishes properly, so she won't eat off them. What can we do?

YOUR daughter constantly has repetitive thoughts which makes her do things that are time-consuming and distressing. She knows these thoughts are irrational but can't ignore them. Two per cent of people in the UK feel the same at some point in their lives and women are affected by obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) more than men.

The compulsion relates to the type of obsession. So hand-washing follows obsessions on dirt and contamination.

Get professional help. Treatment may include psychological and behavioural therapy, medicines or a combination. Relaxation techniques can help, as can exercise or talking in support groups. She may want to contact OCD Action on 020 7226 4000.

CAPTION(S):

OBSESSION: Clean hands
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 15, 2005
Words:165
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