Approximately 12 in every 1,000 people in the UK suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a mental health condition that often means people have to perform tasks in a certain way before they are able to relax.
For many, this takes the form of cleaning, with some sufferers needing to make sure their homes are always spotless, spending hours on housework each day and starting all over again if they’re not totally satisfied with their efforts.
As a result, the condition can be exhausting, often leaving sufferers feeling more stressed than they were before they began tackling tasks, exacerbating their anxiety. According to statistics from OCD UK, between two and three per cent of sufferers visit their GP due to their illness, but many more are living with it without receiving help.
However, according to new research carried out by scientists at the University of Cambridge and the University of California, San Diego, seeing another person perform the tasks that they usually obsess about could help OCD sufferers to feel calmer. This therefore raises the question, could hiring a professional cleaner help people living with OCD to relax more?
What the research found
The research was designed to compare the reactions of OCD sufferers with people who did not have a mental health problem of this kind, asking each person to touch a dirty or soiled item such as a bedpan or have one of the study leaders touch it for them. Latex gloves were allowed to be worn during the exercise.
Participants were then asked to wash their hands, or watch a study leader wash their hands. Regardless of who was doing the hand-washing, this was found to calm the OCD sufferers, which suggests that simply watching someone else performing a task or knowing that they are doing it and being able to see the results later could help some people with OCD.
Study author Baland Jalal of the University of Cambridge explained: “Watching a video of someone washing their hands might be enough to reduce the urge to perform the action in real life.”
“It might at least act as a kind of benign substitute that’s used alongside more conventional treatments,” he added.
Could hiring a professional cleaner help?
With the study finding that being able to see other people completing tasks associated with cleanliness can be enough to calm and reassure OCD sufferers, this suggests that seeing the results of a nice clean home after a day at work or completing other tasks could be a real help for people with OCD.
It can be hard for those with the condition to trust other people to do jobs to the same standard they always do, but paying someone else to do chores could help to relieve some of the burden associated with OCD.
Professional cleaners will always work to a very high standard and use the best-quality cleaning products, so there would never be any need to worry about levels of cleanliness and hygiene.
At FastKlean, you can trust our cleaners totally – they’ll carry out the chores you need doing at a time and day that suits you. They can take care of mopping, sweeping, dusting and vacuuming, leaving you with the smaller tasks like the washing up and laundry, which could help to make your OCD more manageable.