water squirts from the shower

How to Stop Shower OCD

Please note:  The information on this page should not be construed as medical advice, nor should it be used to diagnose or treat any condition. The content on this page is written by recovered OCD sufferers, not by clinicians. Read More

How to Stop Shower OCD: Tips and Tricks 

Do you have trouble getting out of the shower or feel a need to scrub yourself clean for hours? If so, you may be struggling with OCD, a widespread condition that can cause significant distress.  

OCD comes in various themes such as hoarding, ritualistic prayers, violent thoughts, repetitive counting, and checking and unchecking stoves or locks. However, not everyone has heard of shower OCD, which is an excessive need to clean the body, so here are some tips and tricks that can help you stop it in its tracks. 

1. Journal your thoughts.  

Journaling is a helpful way to track your OCD thoughts and compulsive behaviors. For example, you fear not being clean enough, so you compulsively shower for two hours or longer to decrease the uncomfortable feelings of anxiety. Therefore, jotting down your patterns for several weeks can help determine what needs changing to eliminate and address the issue head-on.  

2. Change your shower habits.  

OCD can be tricky, as it likes to dictate our thoughts and behavioral patterns. However, by challenging them, you are changing the results. So, for example, set a timer or take a colder shower. Or, if you like listening to music on your phone while showering, leave your phone in another room. The purpose of these tactics is to get you out much sooner. Essentially, you are in charge of OCD and not the other way around.  

3. Seek counseling.  

Working with OCD on your own can be very challenging. Therefore, it would be beneficial to work with a therapist who can help with the thoughts and feelings that are producing your behaviors. 

  1. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that helps people live happier lives by accepting their thoughts without judging or controlling them. To find out more about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, check out this blog post on how it helped manage my OCD! 
  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychological treatment used to challenge and decrease distorted thinking, feelings, and behavioral patterns. This problem-solving method works for individuals struggling with OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, etc.  
  1. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a form of CBT and one of the most highly practiced methods used to treat individuals living with OCD. It entails confronting the feared object or situation to prevent compulsive behaviors. For instance, you struggle with perfectionism and neatness, which causes great anxiety, so your therapist has you drop a piece of paper on the floor and wait one full minute to pick it up. The following time, you have to wait two minutes, and it will continue to increase until you no longer feel a need to act on the compulsion, thus decreasing your anxiety. Initially, this method will cause more discomfort, but it will diminish through practice and repetition. To find more information on exposure and response prevention therapy, you can find it here: Exposure and Response Prevention – (ocdtalk.com) 

4. Find support. 

Having someone to share your thoughts and feelings with can be beneficial, whether through a trusted friend, family member, or mentor. However, if you prefer not to disclose within your circle, find a peer support group that can empathize. You can choose to attend online or in-person peer or therapist-led groups. Or, if you prefer privacy, you can join a forum specific to your needs. Find Support Groups for OCD Near You | ocdtalk.com. Sharing a commonality with someone who can empathize is a great way to see that you are not alone.   

5. Be kind to yourself.  

When we see someone with a physical condition such as diabetes, we are more apt to feel empathy towards them, but we tend to be less forgiving when it comes to our mental health. However, OCD is not a character flaw but a condition that needs treatment, so be kind to yourself. In addition, it won’t be an overnight fix either, so give yourself some grace.  

Final Words 

Shower OCD is a real struggle for many individuals, but it is very treatable through practice, support, and the proper resources. Therefore, take your control back and show OCD who’s boss.  

If you need some support on your recovery journey, you are always welcome to join our OCD community. We have a wealth of information and support available to you. By entering our discussion forum, you can connect with others who understand what you are going through. You can also find helpful tips and advice from people who have been where you are now. 

You are not alone in this fight and can overcome your OCD and live a happy and fulfilling life with the proper treatment. Find Support Groups for OCD Near You | ocdtalk.com 

If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with us, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you! 

Notable Replies

  1. Showering a few times a day helps me get rid of the feeling that I might be dirty, but it also makes me calmer. Obviously, I am not environmentally friendly, and my skin tends to be dry, but it’s not a habit that irritates me and that I want to get rid off.

  2. I also find steam showers relaxing but doing that more than 1-2 times per day can make your skin dry and itchy. That’s because showering so often removes all the natural oils on your skin’s surface. I think the article has some good advice that you can try.

  3. I know what you mean. Even as a male, I use moisturizing lotion almost daily to make my skin feel better. However, I cant reduce the number of my shower times. It will make me highly irritated if I do so.

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