America knows Howie Mandel as the witty, charismatic from a variety of tv shows like Deal or No Deal or America’s Got Talent, but did you know he lives with a psychological disorder every day of his life. Howie Mandel deals with a psychological disorder every day called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder also known as OCD. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a disorder in which someone is plagued by obsessive thoughts and/or repetitive compulsions.
In 2009 Howie publicly addressed his struggle with living with OCD in an interview with ABC news. Due to Howie’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, he lives with a fear and hatred of germs and the compulsions that come along with these fears. His thought obsession is that every disease is going to kill him and if he’s not clean then death is coming for him in his mind.
Howie’s hectic everyday life of being famous and constantly meeting new people is no small feat when it comes to the triggers he feels by the thought of getting his hands dirty. Howie has used the analogy that hands are like a Petri dish full of harmful germs and in the past, this has caused him to compulsively scrub his hands raw. Now that he is older, to deal with this Howie has a few coping mechanisms such as his infamous fist bump instead of shaking hands.
Howie also refuses to come into contact with handrails or anything of the sort, along with avoiding touching money unless it has been previously washed. At one point in his life before Howie taken on the fist bump as a greeting, he would shake people’s hands but always had a bucket of hand sanitizer at his desk and use it excessively until his skin was raw. Even Howie’s clean-shaven head is apart of his OCD, while he first shaved it for a movie the clean feeling he got from being bald is something that stuck with him and has been part of his signature look ever since.
Being a germaphobe isn’t easy when it comes to traveling, which Howie is forced to do a lot of for his career. To combat this Howie stays in luxury hotels where he brings his own sheets, pillowcases, towels, and blankets along with a blacklight. Howie also only travels on private airplanes to avoid community germs, even going as far as always traveling straight home on the same day if time permits.
Years back when Howie’s OCD was at his peak and his kids were born he would make everyone scrub their hands before holding his babies, and when they started to crawl on the floor Howie wasn’t sure if he was going to make it. Howie’s OCD got to the point that if a member of his household was sick he walked around with a surgical mask and rubber gloves and even then refused to sleep in the house, he would go sleep in the guesthouse.
Despite all this Howie has found ways to help treat his Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder through various kinds of medication and therapy. Howie even goes so far as to say without his medication, although he will not tell the public what specifically he’s taking for fear of influencing people to think that’s the cure because what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone, he wouldn’t be the man he is today and would probably be locked up in a hole in his house.
- Mental Health America – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Facts
- International OCD Foundation – About OCD
- American Psychiatric Association – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Mayo Clinic – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- National Institute of Mental Health – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- National Center for Biotechnology Information – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Prevalence, Comorbidity, Impact, and Management Approaches