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My DH has contamination OCD, can he get better or will he always be like this?

(26 Posts)
StormyLovesOdd Sun 16-Oct-16 22:52:44

DH is having CBT and is about half way through his treatment, this week his therapist is going to show DH some techniques on managing his anxiety however DH has been getting notably worse the last few weeks. His OCD is now so bad it takes him 5 or 6 hours before he can even leave the house, hes constantly in the bathroom and washes so much his hands and arms look like they have been burnt.

Friday was horrendous,we had a power cut for hours and he couldn't use the shower to wash his hands and arms (this is his usual routine) he was tearing round our house shouting and swearing because he gets angry with himself when things don't go to plan. He started banging his head against the wall and then started counting out tablets, said he wanted to kill himself. I took the pills away and flushed them down the toilet but I just didn't know what to do with him. Eventually, hours later he calmed down and apologised but I just don't know how we can move on from this. I've never seen him this bad before and I'm scared he's going to do it again.

I know i need a plan of action to keep us all safe, what should I have done and is he likely to get any better or will he always be like this?

BusterGonad Mon 17-Oct-16 09:30:36

I really can't help but I just want to say I feel for you, it must be so so hard.

StormyLovesOdd Mon 17-Oct-16 11:23:29

Thanks Buster, yes it is. We've been together since I was 15, I'm now 46 and married with a child so I don't want to just give up on him after all these years but if this is going to be my life with him I just don't think I can carry on.

DH has had OCD for about 8 years, he's on medication but nothing seems to help and he has gradually got worse and worse, every time he has a "blip" as he calls it he never seems to manage to completely get back to where he was. . I dread to think what would happen to him if I wan't around though, he has nowhere else to go and I'm scared he'll end up living on the streets or something if we split up but how can I keep putting me and my daughter through this?

BusterGonad Mon 17-Oct-16 12:39:03

Maybe he needs to go somewhere for a while, residential help? I have no idea how you would go about it but there must be some kind of help if people get to a really really bad point of ill health. Maybe worth a visit to your Gp to discuss a more intensive regime, if it's putting your family life at risk it's no good for anyone not even your husband!

BusterGonad Mon 17-Oct-16 12:41:48

Maybe try different medication too as it's obviously not doing the job!

Imsickofnamechanging Mon 17-Oct-16 12:46:38

That sounds reall awful and frightening for both of you. You say he developed it 8 yrs ago. Do you know what triggered it? Does he have any underlying conditions that predispose him to OCD? Have these questions been addressed during his CBT?

StormyLovesOdd Wed 19-Oct-16 12:43:34

sorry I've not been on here for a few days.

Just a quick update, I've rang DH's therapist and he is not happy to speak to me, said its one on one therapy and it won't help me being there. I just want to know the likelihood of him improving, its very frustrating that he won't speak to me.

DH was up until 2:30am this morning cleaning his wardrobe and washing his hands over and over again. Thank God our daughter is a very heavy sleeper so he did not disturb but I couldn't get to sleep because of all the noise he was making.

We were both able to talk about it quite calmly this morning. I've told him he needs to make more of an effort to keep calm with it all or he will have to move out hopefully on a temporary basis. I know this will probably send his anxiety through the roof but I really can't take anymore of this.

I'm shattered today after no sleep last night. I'm recovering from a cancer diagnosis last year.

AnxiousCarer Thu 20-Oct-16 14:59:03

Hi I don't have anu experience of OCD but I do have experience of living with someone with mental illness and how challenging it can be. It might be worth looking into family therapy. DHs team offer this and it has been very helpful in the past. We are just about to start again to deal with the effect his most recent crisis and how this has affected us both.

StormyLovesOdd Thu 20-Oct-16 15:21:44

Anxious - thank you, I think family therapy would really help. How do you access it? Did you go through your GP?

DH was much much calmer when I got home from work last night he was playing on the xbox with our DD (something he has not done for months) and this morning as I left for work he was washing-up (this has never happened before).

glitterandtinsel Thu 20-Oct-16 15:40:38

I did cbt to help with my anxiety. I felt worse before I got better as I had to bring up my squashed down feelings up to the surface. I was really ill and almost house bound and disassociative and suicidal during the first part of cbt. However now I've completed the course I feel so much better. I would almost say the best I've ever been. Does your dh need any antidepressants? Venlafaxine takes the edge of anxiety. I have generalised anxiety disorder, complex post traumatic stress disorder and depression. But mainly they don't cause a problem.
Stick with it!

CleverQuacks Thu 20-Oct-16 18:22:00

What medication is your dh on? It doesn't seem to be working, could he speak to his doctor about increasing or changing it? When I was struggling with ocd following the birth of my son I was put on a low dose anti psychotic medication (olanzapine) and it really really helped.

StormyLovesOdd Thu 20-Oct-16 20:08:35

Glitter - thank you, that gives me a lot of hope, I really don't think he can get much lower than he was on Friday hopefully that was rock bottom. As I said in my post above he's been so much better yesterday and today, I feel like I have my husband back, it's been like living with a stranger for months.

DH does take medication for the OCD, he was on the same tablets for years and the GP switched him onto some different anti-depressants last year.

StormyLovesOdd Thu 20-Oct-16 20:10:07

Can't remember what the pills are called but I think it starts with Se....

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Thu 20-Oct-16 20:12:44

I thought chlomipramine was the one for OCD?

Bearsinmotion Thu 20-Oct-16 20:18:59

Seroxat? Be careful with those - DP was switched from one kind to another and the new one doesn't work. Soon as he switched back he was fine.

Crystal15 Thu 20-Oct-16 20:19:47

Just thought I would add that with any anxiety disorder in therapy, it gets worse before it gets better.facing fears increases anxiety initially, then the anxiety tapers off the more you face it. Once at an acceptable level it's so much easier moving forward.

AnxiousCarer Thu 20-Oct-16 21:04:02


We were offered family therapy by DHs MH team. The CPNs have facilitated it so far but have said that they can refer on to a specific family therapist if they feel we need more than they can offer.

I can understand that your DHs CBT therapist can not speak to you without your DHs express consent. Does he have a CPN involved, if so I would ask them, if not then you could ask your GP if they can refer.

Glitter, thats useful to know as DH and I have both been encouraged to have CBT, maybe timing them so they don't coincide would be best if possible!

StormyLovesOdd Thu 20-Oct-16 21:48:39

Okay, just checked the boxes and his pills are called sertraline.

What does CPN stand for, sorry but I'm not familiar with the term.

Do you think I should ring DH's therapist and tell him about the suicide threats,I don't think DH will have told him how bad it was.

AnxiousCarer Thu 20-Oct-16 22:07:17

CPN is community psychiatric nurse, also refered to as key workers by some teams.

Its so hard when your DH is suicidal knowing what to do. I've been thete many times with DH. Do you think he is in immediate danger now? If its an emergency then encourage him to go to a&e with you or to phone the crisis team. You should ba able to get their number online or from your local hospital switchboard. If he is an immediate danger to himself and you can't pursuade him then call 999 and ask police to attend, they will take him to a place of safety, probably a&e in the first instance. If you feel in any danger get you and DCs out and call the police.

AnxiousCarer Thu 20-Oct-16 22:25:18

Sorry if that seemed a bit dramatic but been there myself and wanted you to have emergency info asap.

If its not urgent but he is talking about it then it would probably be worth mentioning to his therapist. Also give try to give him distractions when hes feeling suicidal (I've been there too) and remind him of all the good things he has in his life, reassure him this will pass.

I know how scary it is to be on both sides of it. Its just so hard flowers

StormyLovesOdd Thu 20-Oct-16 22:35:59

Thanks Anxious DH is fine at the moment, definatly not suicidal and very calm, almost like his old self,we've talked more these last 2 days than we have in years. He's told me he feels able do deal with the anxiety better now he's faced it, I just hope he's being honest with me, he does tend to minimise things when he's calm.

DH has never been assigned a key worker or anything, he's never threatened suicide before, honestly I think (hope) he was just threatening it to make me stay as he knew I'd had as much as I could take. I now have the crisis team number stored in my phone, thank you x

StormyLovesOdd Thu 20-Oct-16 22:39:21

Not dramatic at all, practical help and advice is just what I needed.

I hope things are better for you now.

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Sat 22-Oct-16 09:44:19

Chlomipramine is the recommended drug for OCD

second paragraph

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Sat 22-Oct-16 15:21:12

OP, you need to talk to the GP. Suicide threats are serious and need to be properly assessed by the right people. Your GP can help with that. The therapist is not taking you seriously, but again the GP cab help with that. Would your DH agree to see the GP together with you? It may help stop him minimising what he's doing, especially if he is at the point where he's struggling to see that his OCD is essentially self harm at the moment.

It's a very tough situation, I sincerely hope you get the right support - for both of you.

BananaPie Sat 22-Oct-16 15:42:56

Not sure whether anyone answered your original question. I have seen OCD this bad become much more manageable with the help of drugs and therapy. I don't think it ever fully goes away, but it can reduce to a level where the sufferer can live without it interfering in their everyday lives. Good luck.

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