By Tony Winterburn • 21 May 2020 • 8:39
The Coronavirus crisis has left people with obsessive-compulsive disorder and health anxiety in a “vicious cycle,” experts say.
Patients with both disorders constantly check their bodies for signs of illness and carry out washing or decontaminating rituals to help “reduce the threat” of them falling ill or something bad happening to them. The problem is that as most of Spain is still in Phase 1 of the lockdown thousands of sufferers have had no contact with anyone and worries are they could be suffering more than most of us.
Expat communities on Spain’s Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca are calling out to people to check on their friends and neighbours that have OCD and to reassure them it’s not necessary to continually wash their hands.
The recommended amount of times to wash your hands is still every 20 minutes but only if you have contact with other people or you have just returned home from being out.
Spain’s lockdown restrictions have seen a surge in these obsessional “safety-seeking” behaviours, which feed the anxiety of OCD sufferers, Spanish psychologists say.
Professor Paul Salkovskis, director of psychological health at Oxford University, said “If you wash your hands for 20 seconds after every time you go out, that’s fine.
“But if you’re washing your hands six or seven times after you touch the inside of your front door, that’s a problem.”
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