2. A mental illness in which patients are driven to repeat the same act, such as washing their hands, over and over again, usually for many hours: Some compulsive disorders, as indicated in ablutomanias, are often considered to be "obsessive-compulsive psychoneuroses".
Some ablutomanias are enormously time-consuming. A woman named Beth felt compelled to wash her hands in a certain way after touching "unclean" objects, namely from fingers to wrist, from wrist to elbow, and from elbow to upper arm, and then to repeat the performance several times until her anxiety was over. As a result, Beth's hands often became painfully raw.
Arthur had ablutomanias that involved washing in a certain ritualistic order whenever he had a bath or cleaned objects. He said, "When I wash clothes or clean anything—floor, carpet, windows, and so on—I have to clean them in a specific way to make sure I do not miss anything. I can never hurry because I would not feel that it has been done properly."