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11 Jul 2005

OCD & Smoking
Hi Doctor,

Thanks for your answer to 18588. Doctor, my fear of contamination still exists, but, far improved. I was on Zoloft for about 3 months last year and stopped. I felt, while on medication, that it was getting worse. When I stopped the medication, the symptoms got somewhat less, but the fears came back worse earlier in the year and due to my hectic work schedule, I never had a chance as yet to see my psychiatrist. Just over a week ago, I decided to give up smoking and I was amazed that although fears haven't disappeared 100%, I noticed a vast improvement. At this stage, is there anything else that I can do to completely get rid of these fears?

Many thanks.
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Well, congratulations, so it was just good old-fashioned will-power that did it ! Excellent ! Usually an AD like Zoloft seems to be helpful in managing OCD. Maybe it was the boost to your self-confidence on stopping smoking that lso helped to feel more confident about the contamination fears. I wonder if you might manage to find a counsellor who uses CBT ( Cognitive-behaviour Therapy ) techniques, which should be really suitable for you, as it uses logic and can use the somewhat obsessive thoroughness that often underlies OCD ( a great strength so long as one can only apply it to situations that actually need it !).
For the present, when mild examples of the fears arise, remind yourself of how much better they have been recently, and how you have managed to be less uncomfortable and prsumably less fussy about precautions, and haven't had any contamination whasoever. Remind yourself that these are convincing but essentially unrealistic fears caused by the chemistry of one's state of mind, and not realistic assessments of any actual risk.
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