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Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour(OCB) ?
Aug 3, 1998

1. I read that people with OCB are usually very paranoid, especially when it comes to diseases and getting sick. Well, I noticed that I am very paranoid..especially when it comes to diseases ( especially HIV and cancer )..many times I have scared myself into thinking that I may be infected HIV or have cancer or other diseases. Other than that, I have other odd behaviour. Sometimes, I have this 'urge' to touch things. For example, sometimes, when I walk pass a door, I would have this urge to touch the door knob or I might have an urge to kick the leg of a chair. I also like to keep useless old things for a long time before I have the heart to throw it away. Those are some of my behaviour that makes me think I have OCB although I have read about more serious cases where people wash their hands or brush their teeth many times. Could it be that I have mild OCB ?

2. I also have this habit ( I tried stoping..but the urge was too great..like an addiction ) of peeling scabs from wounds which are not healed properly with a nail clipper which sometimes causse bleeding. Is this a common practice with everyone or is this the first time you have heard of it ? This is because I shared the same nail clipper with my former room mate and if it is a common practice ( that means he does that too),that means blood born disease could be transmitted.

Please answer my questions because I am sort of paranoid..not I think I might have been infected by HIV by sharing nail clippers..I scared myself billions of times already and I hope you can ease my fear this time. Do I have OCB or am I just a plain paranoid hyper-imaginative pessimistic person.?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

It is virtually impossible to try and offer any assessment of whether or not you may have an obsessive disorder. Since this is of such great concern to you the only thing to do is to find a well trained and licensed mental health professional and have a consultation with him or her in order for them to do a multi-faceted diagnostic assessment. You definitely can not catch HIV from sharing a nail clipper with someone.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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