One of the hallmarks of obsessive-compulsive disorder is contamination fears and excessive hand-washing. Years ago, a patient with severe OCD came to my office wearing gloves and a mask and refused to sit on any of the "contaminated" chairs. Now, these same behaviors are accepted and even encouraged to keep everyone healthy.

This new normal in the face of a deadly pandemic has permeated our culture and will continue to influence it. Many stores now prominently post rules mandating face masks and hand sanitizer use and limit the number of customers allowed inside at one time. Walkers and joggers politely cross the street to avoid proximity to each other.

Only a few months ago, this type of behavior would have been considered excessive and certainly not healthy.

So, where do doctors draw the line between vigilance to avoid being infected with the coronavirus and obsessive-compulsive disorder that can be harmful?

More in category

'No way in hell': Some wary parents won't vaccinate kids, setting up future school showdowns
September 23, 2020MSN
'No way in hell': Some wary parents won't vaccinate kids, setting up future school showdowns
Karaoke party linked to 50 infections, 2 deaths
September 23, 2020MSN
Karaoke party linked to 50 infections, 2 deaths
When the classroom comes with room service & poolside cabanas
September 23, 2020MSN
When the classroom comes with room service & poolside cabanas
The extremely profitable (and ethically murky) business of reselling dumbbells
September 23, 2020MSN
The extremely profitable (and ethically murky) business of reselling dumbbells
The financial case for defunding the police
September 23, 2020MSN
The financial case for defunding the police
General Mills Aims to Halve Food Waste by 2030
September 23, 2020MSN
General Mills Aims to Halve Food Waste by 2030
Adeline Fagan's parents say the 28-year-old doctor who died after coronavirus battle spent her life helping people
September 23, 2020MSN
Adeline Fagan's parents say the 28-year-old doctor who died after coronavirus battle spent her life helping people
Is It Safe to Exercise if the Air Is Hazy With Wildfire Smoke?
September 23, 2020The NY Times
Is It Safe to Exercise if the Air Is Hazy With Wildfire Smoke?
Banks Halt U.K. Office Return; J&J Tests Vaccine: Virus Update
September 23, 2020MSN
Banks Halt U.K. Office Return; J&J Tests Vaccine: Virus Update
Many parents are hesitant to give their kids a Covid-19 vaccine. What if schools require it?
September 23, 2020MSN
Many parents are hesitant to give their kids a Covid-19 vaccine. What if schools require it?
Fury opens up on 'challenging' mental health battle during pandemic
September 23, 2020MSN
Fury opens up on 'challenging' mental health battle during pandemic
Fourth COVID-19 vaccine to begin Phase 3 trials in US
September 23, 2020MSN
Fourth COVID-19 vaccine to begin Phase 3 trials in US
Dr. Fauci Says This Is When We May Be Able to Stop Wearing Masks
September 23, 2020MSN
Dr. Fauci Says This Is When We May Be Able to Stop Wearing Masks
Elderly people walk 1mph FASTER now than pensioners 30 years ago
September 23, 2020MSN
Elderly people walk 1mph FASTER now than pensioners 30 years ago
Why We Need To Talk More About The Link Between Pleasure & Fertility
September 23, 2020mindbodygreen
Why We Need To Talk More About The Link Between Pleasure & Fertility
Covid-19 Live Updates: Virus Experts Are Set to Face the Senate
September 23, 2020The NY Times
Covid-19 Live Updates: Virus Experts Are Set to Face the Senate
Fujifilm seeks approval for Covid drug
September 22, 2020MSN
Fujifilm seeks approval for Covid drug
Research adds evidence of asymptomatic spread
September 22, 2020MSN
Research adds evidence of asymptomatic spread
I'm Very Grateful For My Pregnancy, but I'm Finding the Experience Very Uncomfortable
September 22, 2020MSN
I'm Very Grateful For My Pregnancy, but I'm Finding the Experience Very Uncomfortable
Dr. Fauci's 3 Tips For Healthy Living Will Help Your Immune System Function Optimally
September 22, 2020MSN
Dr. Fauci's 3 Tips For Healthy Living Will Help Your Immune System Function Optimally
Fauci calls 200,000 deaths 'sobering' and 'stunning'
September 22, 2020MSN
Fauci calls 200,000 deaths 'sobering' and 'stunning'