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What are the signs of OCD? David Beckham opens up about ‘tiring’ cleaning rituals

David Beckham, who has OCD-like symptoms. (Getty Images)
David Beckham experiences OCD-like symptoms. (Getty Images)

David Beckham, 47, has opened up about his cleaning rituals in a new upcoming Netflix documentary about his life.

The multi-part series will delve into the former footballer's personal life and career, featuring never-seen-before archive footage from the last 40 years, as well as interviews with friends and family.

The footballer, who has spoken about having a type of obsessive disorder in the past, also gives a glimpse into the extent of his habits in the upcoming episodes.

"I clean it so well, I'm not sure it's actually appreciated so much by my wife, in all honesty," he says in one clip from his kitchen, The Sun reports, confirmed by Netflix.

Read more: The key to a happy life is emotional stability, study finds

"The fact that when everyone’s in bed I then go around, clean the candles, turn the lights on to the right setting, make sure everywhere is tidy.

"I hate coming down in the morning and there’s cups and plates and, you know, bowls."

Explaining the most tedious part of his routine, Beckham adds, "It's tiring going around every single candle cleaning it.

"I clip the candle wax, I clean the glass, that's my pet hate, the smoke around the inside of a candle... I know, it's weird."

Beckham is also seen to tell off wife Victoria for not putting away the salt, before she responds, "He's just so perfect", and tells him "You are appreciated."

But, he chimes in, "Don't believe that for a second, she sounds so sarcastic when she says it."

The new documentary is still without a title, but was announced to be in production last July, and is expected to come out later this year.

In an interview with ITV in 2006, Beckham first said of his rituals, "I have got this disorder where I have to have everything in a straight line or everything has to be in pairs. I’ll put my Pepsi cans in the fridge and if there’s one too many then I’ll put it in another cupboard somewhere.

"I’ll go into a hotel room and before I can relax, I have to move all the leaflets and all the books and put them in a drawer.”

An estimated one in 100 people have OCD, according to Mind. While the condition is something many of us might be aware of, or use the term loosely, what is not known is how much it can affect someone's life.

What is OCD?

"Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety-related mental health condition which, when severe, can be disabling," explains Abie Taylor-Spencer, TMS technician at mental health clinic Smart TMS.

"OCD affects men and women equally and although it typically tends to occur during late adolescence or early adulthood, it can begin at any age."

Man with head in his hands
While some may be, not all OCD symptoms are visible, including intrusive thoughts. (Getty Images)

What are the main symptoms of OCD?

OCD has three main elements – obsessions, compulsions, and emotions.

Obsessions: "These are uncontrollable thoughts, images, worries or urges which someone experiences recurrently and can trigger intense distress," says Taylor-Spencer.

"The intrusive thoughts can be difficult to ignore and occur frequently, causing extreme anxiety and preoccupation which prevents the individual from regular day to day functioning."

She adds that common obsessions in OCD include; causing or failing to prevent harm, perfectionism, scrupulosity (concern with religious issues such as morality and blasphemy) and the fear of contamination and illness.

Emotions: This is when the obsessed can cause intense anxiety or distress, according to the NHS.

Compulsions: "The compulsions are repetitive and time-consuming behaviours which an individual performs in an attempt to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts,” Taylor-Spencer explains.

"These can be physical actions or rituals, such as washing or cleaning excessively, arranging things in a specific way, checking that appliances are turned off and that doors are locked."

She adds that many compulsions involve numbers; for example, compulsions may involve activities (such as turning on a light switch) having to be repeated a specific number of times without the ritual being interrupted.

"Some compulsions are purely mental; for instance, an individual may pray to prevent harm to others, or count whilst carrying out a task to end on a specific number.

"Other common compulsions include seeking reassurance, hoarding and actively avoiding circumstances which may trigger an obsession," she adds.

"Individuals often engage in such behaviours because they feel driven to do so in order to neutralise, counteract or dissipate their obsessions."

Speak to your GP for advice if you have OCD symptoms. (Getty Images)
Speak to your GP for advice if you have OCD symptoms. (Getty Images)

Can different people have worse symptoms than others?

Symptoms vary considerably between individuals.

"For example, those with severe OCD may find their symptoms disabling, whereas those with mild OCD will not experience an impact on their lives to the same extent," Taylor-Spencer explains.

"People who find their OCD to be relatively low may find that their symptoms improve without treatment, however, this is unlikely to occur in those with moderate to severe OCD."

What are the causes of OCD?

According to Taylor-Spencer there are different factors which may contribute to the development of OCD.

"The condition may be triggered by a combination of genetic, neurological, behavioural, cognitive, and environmental factors," she explains.

"Imbalances in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and glutate have been recognised as potential factors in the development of this disorder."

Family history, personality, and life events can also increase the likelihood of an individual developing OCD.

What are the treatment options for OCD?

There are currently a few different treatment options that are available for people who are suffering from OCD.

The two main ones, as per the NHS, are:

  • talking therapy – usually helps you face your fears and obsessive thoughts without 'putting them right' with compulsions

  • medicine – usually a type of antidepressant medicine that can help by altering the balance of chemicals in your brain

The length of therapy may vary depending on the severity of your treatment.

Speak to your GP about symptoms or treatment options, or refer yourself to an NHS talking therapies service. You can also seek support from OCD Action on the helpline 0300 636 5478.

Watch: Made of Millions co-founders Rose and Aaron discuss the reality of living with OCD