Emotional Contamination In OCD: What Is It and Coping Up

Emotional Contamination In OCD: What Is It and Coping Up

Do you feel like you’re always getting sick? Are there certain words or phrases that just make your skin crawl? If so, you may be experiencing emotional contamination OCD. This is a type of OCD where individuals feel as though they are coming into contact with germs or dirt that will make them ill. In this blog post, we will discuss what emotional contamination OCD is, how to cope with it, and some helpful tips for managing the condition.

What Is Emotional Contamination?

What Is Emotional Contamination?

Emotional Contamination is an excessive fear of becoming emotionally contaminated by a person or object. It is one type of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). People who experience emotional contamination often feel that they are carrying the emotions of others, and therefore must take preventative measures to avoid taking them on.

Emotional contamination can present in many ways, such as feeling like contact with another person’s emotions will lead to personal distress, or having to wash objects or oneself after being exposed to perceived negative emotions. Other signs of emotional contamination include avoiding contact with people who appear angry or sad, engaging in rituals before interacting with certain people, and avoiding public places due to fear of being emotionally contaminated.

Is There Emotional Contamination In OCD?

Emotional contamination is an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptom that involves fear of emotionally polluting oneself and others through contact with certain people, places, or objects. Sufferers of emotional contamination believe that their emotions, thoughts, or feelings can be transferred to other people or objects in the form of pollution. In more severe cases, individuals may become overly concerned about physical contact between themselves and another person because they are afraid that this will result in emotional contamination.

Emotional contamination is often linked to particularly intrusive thoughts and urges which increase the sufferer’s anxiety levels. This type of OCD can lead to avoidance behaviors such as refusal to touch doorknobs, shake hands, or even hug friends and family members.

Also, it is important to note that emotional contamination can also stem from a fear of being blamed or judged by others. This fear sometimes leads individuals to be excessively concerned about how they are perceived in social situations and make them more likely to experience feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment.

How Does Emotional Contamination In OCD Impact Someone?

How Does Emotional Contamination In OCD Impact Someone?

The impacts of emotional contamination in OCD can be powerful and wide-reaching.

  • People with this type of OCD experience intense feelings of distress when they come into contact with someone or something that is associated with a negative emotion, such as fear, anger, sadness, or disgust. This distress can be so overwhelming that it causes people to avoid situations or activities where this kind of contact could occur.
  • People with emotional contamination OCD might find themselves avoiding large groups because they are afraid of being overwhelmed by the emotions of those around them. They may also avoid activities like public speaking for fear that their own emotions will “contaminate” the audience.
  • Other examples include avoiding hugging family members out of fear that their own negative emotions will be passed on, or refraining from touching items that have been touched by someone else for fear of “catching” their emotions.
  • The impact of emotional contamination on someone’s life can vary widely. For some people, it may cause significant social anxiety and interfere with daily activities, such as going to work or school.
  • Others may find themselves deeply affected by the emotions of those around them and struggle to maintain relationships due to their need to avoid contact with certain people or situations.
  • In all cases, though, this type of OCD can be a debilitating disorder that leaves sufferers feeling isolated and helpless in the face of their negative feelings.

How Can You Cope With Emotional Contamination In OCD?

Although it may feel impossible to deal with the intrusive thoughts and emotions of emotional contamination OCD, some strategies can help.

  • The first step is education: understanding what causes this type of OCD and learning more about how it works will enable you to better recognize the triggers for your symptoms and develop coping mechanisms. Additionally, talking to a therapist or counselor can provide invaluable insight into managing your condition. A mental health professional can work with you to develop personalized management strategies based on your specific needs.
  • The next step is to develop healthy coping mechanisms. This can include mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation to help reduce anxiety levels. Additionally, engaging in activities that are enjoyable and bring a sense of calm – like exercising or listening to music – can help distract you from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
  • Finally, it’s important to reach out for social support when needed. Connecting with friends and family who understand your condition can provide a source of emotional comfort and validation during difficult times.

With the right strategies, emotional contamination OCD does not have to be debilitating. With patience and practice, it is possible to manage this type of OCD and gain back control over your life.

Strategies To Cope-Up Emotional Contamination In OCD

Strategies To Cope-Up Emotional Contamination In OCD

Like the steps there are to take against contamination OCD, there are ways to deal with emotional contamination.

Some of these are:

Talk About What You Fear

When you experience emotional contamination, it’s important to talk about your fears. This can be done with a therapist or a trusted friend or a family member. Talking through how you’re feeling can help provide necessary context and it will also allow others to understand what you are going through. Also, it’s helpful to talk about the situation and your thoughts as they are occurring. This can help you come up with a plan to figure out how to manage the feelings of contamination that you experience.

Address Your Negative Cognitive Patterns

Negative cognitive patterns play an important role in emotional contamination, so it is essential for those dealing with this disorder to learn how to recognize and address these thought patterns. One way to do this is through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Through CBT, therapists can help patients identify their distorted thinking and create healthier beliefs. Additionally, certain mindfulness practices like meditation may also be beneficial for managing negative self-talk associated with emotional contamination OCD.

Practice Self-Compassion

It is important to be gentle with yourself when it comes to emotional contamination. It is easy to become overwhelmed and blame yourself for having this disorder, but it’s important to remember that no one can control their thoughts or feelings completely. Therefore, it is important to practice self-compassion to cope with the disorder more effectively.

Create a Support System

Having a strong support system can be incredibly beneficial for those dealing with emotional contamination OCD. If you have family and friends who are understanding and supportive of your condition, make sure you talk about what you’re going through with them. They may also be able to provide helpful advice on how to manage your symptoms. Additionally, finding an online support group or even joining a local therapy group can help connect you with others who are dealing with similar issues.

Know When to Seek Professional Help

If your symptoms of emotional contamination become too difficult to handle on your own, it is important to seek professional help. A qualified therapist can help you develop the skills needed to manage the disorder and create an individualized treatment plan that works for you. With the right support and guidance, it is possible to overcome emotional contamination OCD and lead a more fulfilling life. Also, if your symptoms are severe, it is important to seek medical help from a doctor or psychiatrist to receive the proper treatment.

By understanding what emotional contamination OCD is and following the strategies outlined above, individuals can learn how to manage their symptoms and reclaim control over their lives. With patience and practice, you can overcome this disorder and live a fulfilled life free of intrusive thoughts and fears.


The take-home message from this article is that emotional contamination OCD can be a difficult condition to live with, but some strategies can be used to cope with it. It’s important to talk about your fears, address negative cognitive patterns, practice self-compassion, create a supportive environment, and seek professional help if needed. With the right approach, you can learn to manage your symptoms and lead a healthier and happier life.

Living with emotional contamination OCD can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. With dedication, support, and the right strategies in place, you can begin to heal and get your life back on track. Remember that everyone experiences emotions differently – take it one day at a time and trust in yourself that you can overcome this challenge. Good luck!

For more information and guidance, please contact OCDMantra. OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. If you have any queries regarding OCD treatmentERP therapy experienced therapists at OCDMantra can help: Book a trial OD therapy session.