"Over six million people are suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in America alone." (Rapoport 18) People are scared, lonely, feeling hopeless, and some are even uneducated about this incorrigible disorder. Judith L. Rapoport, M.D., a physician, child psychiatrist, and a research scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health, realized these emotions evolving from the confusion of the disorder and decided to compose a book called, The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing: The Experience and Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It is a series of studies that she has collected through her work in order to compile a single piece of literature to convey her findings. By exploring the various rituals of OCD, different accounts of the disorder, and ways to determine if the disease is present, Dr. Rapoport ultimately accomplishes the purpose of her book, which is to comfort those who are suffering or might be at risk, and to educate those who are uninformed.
Dr. Rapoport's elucidation of the different rituals of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which include washing, checking and counting, is a significant constituent in her book. The first type involves unusually frequent washing. In chapter 5, the reader learns about a patient as Dr. Rapoport writes, "Each morning for one hour, eighteen-year-old Morris washes his hands and arms with either Top Job or Mr. Clean. He scrubs his hands so hard that they become raw; they sometimes bleed from the intense scrubbing." (Rapoport 72) This allows the reader to truly realize the severity of Morris" disorder or its similarity to their own. Another form of OCD that Dr. Rapoport emphasizes is obsessive checking. She reports several incidents to fully express the repercussions that may not be evident in one case alone. For example, the occasions where it involves constant checking for safety, such as closed doors and windows or shut off appliances, gives the reader the impression that the disorder is exasperating, yet somewhat reassuring of safety.