What is mental pollution

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy

For some people the obsessional thoughts are in the foreground, for others the obsessional acts. Only a small proportion suffer solely from obsessive-compulsive thoughts.

Patients with obsessive-compulsive thoughts become inundated with recurring or persistent ideas that cause fear, disgust, or discomfort. Above all, aggressive thoughts dominate (e.g. that one could hurt another person) and those that are related to pollution and sexuality. In addition, some patients suffer from “magical” fears, such as that a certain thought could cause disaster.
The unpleasant feelings triggered by obsessive-compulsive thoughts are often reduced by compulsive actions - repetitive behaviors that are usually carried out according to certain rules and always in the same (stereotypical) manner. Close relatives can be involved in the ritual system.

Obsessions and compulsions are very time consuming and can take many hours a day to complete. This leads to a significant decrease in productivity and a withdrawal from friends or family life. Most of the time, those affected are aware of their problem. You experience obsessive-compulsive thoughts as absurd (irrational) but uncontrollable. Precisely because they recognize this, they often hide the disorder and do not seek a doctor ("The doctor thinks I'm crazy", "How should I explain that, I don't understand myself why I keep doing this" , "I'm ashamed of it, I'd rather not tell anyone"). The majority of those affected live with their disease for years or decades without seeking professional help.

Obsessive-compulsive disorders often occur in combination with other mental illnesses such as depression. It is closely related to a number of other mental illnesses called obsessive-compulsive disorders (dysmorphophobia, trichotillomania, dermatillomania, and others).

Obsessive-compulsive disorders are usually chronic without adequate treatment, and the intensity of the symptoms can fluctuate. Usually they spread over time and take up more and more parts of everyday life. Isolation and social withdrawal are often the result. However, certain compulsions can also have physical consequences. For example, skin eczema can develop through compulsory washing.

Patients with obsessive thoughts and / or actions should definitely seek professional help from a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. As a rule, obsessive-compulsive patients cannot escape the vicious circle on their own; concealment makes the suffering even worse. Those affected can be helped with appropriate treatment and a large part of their quality of life can be restored.