Does someone suffer from a compulsive disorder if they wash their hands 50 times a day?
50 washes may seem a lot, but some people just like clean hands. Yet, to surgeons or midwives it is not strange at all to wash their hands 50 times. But if the washing turns into a clearly excessive, useless activity and is being carried out because someone is scared they will be facing all kinds of misery if they do not, that person may be suffering from an obsessive compulsive disorder. People suffering from such a disorder may be scared that if their hands are not perfectly clean, they will contaminate others with all kinds of life threatening pathogens. As a result, they may scrub their hands until they bleed. Others may decide they have to wash their hands EXACTLY 50 times. Other well-known examples of compulsive behaviour include checking (e.g. whether the gas stove is turned off) and symmetry (e.g. having to put all books straight up). The disorder can be so excessive that those suffering from it are hardly able to carry out their daily activities.