Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Case study: obsessive compulsive disorder

Sarah is a 63-year-old widow who was recently referred by her GP after he was contacted by an environmental health agency. Sarah was primarily obsessed that she would lose her wedding ring and this led her to not throw anything away (in case her ring slipped off and she couldn’t find it). She also feared that she would throw away important letters, bills, receipts, etc.

Consequently, she retained all rubbish bags in the upstairs bedrooms as an added safety precaution. She avoided bathing and washing for fear that her wedding ring would slip off down the plughole, leaving the house and opening letters (in case she lost the contents). Due to the obvious smell, her neighbours called in environmental health to investigate. She had had the problem for 30 years, but her husband and son would invariably help her and would not allow her behaviours to become so severe. However, the problem worsened five years earlier when her husband died unexpectedly, and a year ago her only son emigrated to Australia.

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