Q: I think my husband is suffering from OCD but he won’t admit it. Can you help?

I’m writing to you in the hope you can help me and offer a little advice before I consider booking a lie detector test. My husband appears to be suffering from OCD. I’m wondering if a lie detector test could help to identify this. Greg, my husband won’t go to the doctors and his behaviour is getting worse.

It all started when his mother died. Initially it was just checking the knobs on the top of the cooker. I didn’t think much of it at first but every time he’d leave the house, he would have to go back in and turn the knobs on and off. A few times we’d be an hour down the road to visit family or friends and he’d have to go back and check. He just couldn’t settle until he knew the cooker was off. It is getting worse now and he’s started turning light switches on and off. I’ve noticed he does this eight times on each light. He’s become obsessed with cleaning the kitchen.  Sometimes he gets up at 4am to do it.

I’ve tried talking to him about it and asked him to see a doctor but he says there’s nothing wrong. I’m concerned as it now seems to affect his day to day life. Do you think a lie detector test may be able to identify if this is OCD. I really think he needs some counselling to help him control these urges. He also needs to realise this isn’t normal and he does have a problem.

J.W., Gloucester

Response from our Gloucester Polygraph Examiner

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a condition that sufferers sometimes know they have but often either don’t believe it is serious or don’t acknowledge that there is a problem at all.

Your husband’s behaviour certainly suggests there is a problem.  OCD is caused by anxiety with the brain effectively lying to you.  There are several types of OCD and your husband appears to have the ‘checking’ type.  He may be afraid of a fire outbreak if he is checking that light switches or gas knobs are turned off or functioning correctly. To learn more about this condition click here.

As a Gloucester polygraph examiner, I can attempt to find out if your husband is aware of his disorder.  However, if he is the next step would be to get him to seek treatment and this can be very difficult.  The fear of treatment can often be greater than that of the disorder.  He will have to learn through psychotherapy that his brain is telling him lies which may not be easy for him to accept.  He will have to stop checking the cooker and the switches and sockets.  This will cause stress because the worry of fire may still be there.

Pre-test Interview

The polygraph test begins with a pre-test interview.  We may learn something from this as it takes over an hour usually.  This period of time will be spent getting to know your husband and making him relaxed before taking the lie detector test. During this interview he may very well admit to his fears and anxieties which appear to have been triggered by his mother’s death.

If you would like to discuss the matter further call our Free Helpline on 0800 368 8277. Tell our customer care staff that you have had your question answered by the Gloucester polygraph examiner.  Your call will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.

I can then give you some advice as to how to persuade your husband that it is in his best interests to take a polygraph test.