Millions of people suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and out of those, an estimated 2-3% are hypochondriacs. If you are one of the many people who live in fear of developing a serious illness, you may be wondering if you have hypochondriac OCD. This blog post will discuss what is it and help you to identify the symptoms and also offers tips on how to deal with this type of OCD.
- 1 What Does Hypochondriac OCD Mean?
- 2 Signs And Symptoms Of Hypochondriac OCD?
- 3 Hypochondriasis And Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- 4 Tips To Deal With Hypochondriac OCD
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 A Word From Mantra Care
What Does Hypochondriac OCD Mean?
Hypochondriac OCD is a type of OCD that is characterized by a fear of contracting a disease or illness. It is often accompanied by checking behaviors, such as constantly checking for symptoms or researching diseases. People with Hypochondriac OCD often have difficulty shaking the feeling that they are sick, even when there is no evidence to support this belief.
There have been studies that suggest that Hypochondriac OCD may be more common in medical students and health care workers. This is likely due to the increased exposure to information about diseases and illnesses. The hypochondriac OCD is believed to develop as a way to cope with the anxiety that comes with this knowledge.
Let’s understand the situation with an example. Suppose you are a medical student. You have just learned about a deadly disease. The symptoms of the disease match with some of the symptoms that you have been experiencing for some time now. Although there is no evidence to support your belief that you have the disease, the anxiety and fear are so strong that you can’t shake the feeling. This is an example of Hypochondriac OCD. And consequently, you might start checking for symptoms or researching the disease.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hypochondriac OCD?
There are many signs and symptoms of hypochondriac OCD, but some are more common than others. If you think you might have this disorder, it’s important to talk to a mental health professional about your symptoms.
- Excessive worries about your health
- Avoiding activities or places
- Intrusive thoughts about illness
- Compulsions related to illness
- Spending excessive time researching health information
- Making multiple doctor’s appointments
- Constantly checking your body for signs of illness
- Feeling like you have to tell people about your symptoms
The symptoms of hypochondriac OCD even extend to relationships. Because hypochondriacs are so focused on their health, they may have a hard time maintaining close relationships. It is also believed that people with hypochondriacs make themselves more difficult to be around, which often leads to social isolation.
These people are often not suicidal but the anxiety can be so great that it feels like it. However, If you think you might have hypochondriac OCD, it’s important to talk to a mental health professional about your symptoms. Only a professional can give you a diagnosis and help you find the treatment that’s right for you.
Hypochondriasis And Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Most obviously, OCD is about obsessions and compulsions. But for some people with OCD, their obsessions center around health and illness. On the other hand, hypochondriasis is an excessive preoccupation with the belief that one has or is developing a serious medical condition.
So, while people with hypochondriasis may obsess about their health, they do not typically have compulsions. There are so many similarities between the two disorders that they are often confused. As hypochondriasis is similar to obsessions in the same way as OCD.
It is not uncommon for people with OCD to be diagnosed with hypochondriasis (or vice versa). In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, as many as one-third of people with OCD also suffer from hypochondriasis.
The key difference between the two disorders is that people with OCD realize that their obsessions are irrational, while people with hypochondriasis believe that their fears are real. However, for most people hypochondriac is a type of OCD. And like other forms of OCD, it is treatable.
Tips To Deal With Hypochondriac OCD
When you live with hypochondriac OCD, your fear of illness can become all-consuming. Even the most minor physical symptoms can cause you a great deal of anxiety. You may find yourself constantly researching your symptoms online or making frequent trips to the doctor.
Here are some tips that may help you deal with hypochondriac OCD:
Talk to someone who understands
It can be helpful to talk to someone who knows what you’re going through. These can be your friends and family members because they can offer support and understanding. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, there are also many online support groups available. Moreover, the important thing is to talk about your situation and what you are going through. Otherwise, it can have more drastic consequences.
Additionally, it is essential to understand that you are not alone in this battle. And that can make a significant difference. When you talk to other people who suffer from the same condition, it can help you feel less isolated and more hopeful.
Challenge your beliefs
One of the best ways to challenge your beliefs is to seek professional help. A therapist can help you understand your thoughts and feelings about your health anxiety. They can also provide you with tools to challenge your fears and anxiety. also, it has been shown that people who go through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) have a significant reduction in their health anxiety.
This is considered one of the most effective treatments for OCD. Because hypochondriac is all about having irrational fears, so challenging your beliefs and facing your fears is the best help. And a therapist or counselor can assist you in this process.
Focus on the present moment
When you are dealing with health anxiety, it is easy to get caught up in your fears and thoughts about the future. However, it is important to focus on the present moment and what is happening right now. Try to be aware of your thoughts and feelings without judging them. Accept them and let them go. This will help you live in the moment and not worry about what may or may not happen in the future.
Moreover, in general, it is essential to live in the present moment as much as possible. And when you have health anxiety, it can be even more challenging. But if you can focus on the present, it will help you feel calmer and less anxious. This is one of the best ways to deal with hypochondriac OCD.
Avoid making comparisons
When you have hypochondriac OCD, it’s easy to compare yourself to others who don’t have the condition. However, this can actually make your symptoms worse. Instead of comparing yourself, focus on what you can do to manage your symptoms. This is also very negative and will not help you in any way.
Comparisons are considered one of the most significant contributors to health anxiety. So, it is best to avoid them as much as possible. And focus on your own journey and what you can do to improve your condition. In casual life also, comparisons are not good. You should focus on your own life and what you can do to make it better.
Find an activity that relaxes you
It is important to find an activity that relaxes you and helps you focus on the present moment. This can be anything from yoga to meditation to listening to music. Find something that works for you and make it a part of your daily routine. This includes everything that can make you feel good and also offers some healthiness. Such activities can be;
- Meditation and yoga
- Reading books or writing journals
- Eating a healthy diet or your favorite food
- Listening to music, dancing
- Being creative
- Getting enough sleep
These all can be a great tool for distraction from your hypochondriac OCD. Even so, it is still important to talk to a professional about your condition and what you can do to manage it.
Consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of therapy that can help you change the way you think about your health anxiety. It can also help you learn how to manage your symptoms. CBT has been shown to be very effective in treating hypochondriac OCD. If you are interested in this option, please consult a mental health professional to see if it is right for you. There is a complete process for this therapy to work effectively, such as;
- A proper medical evaluation
- Identifying your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
- Learning how to challenge your fears
- Using ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) to confront your fears
- Practicing relaxation techniques
These are the steps in which CBT works in order to help you deal with your hypochondriac OCD. You can try Mantra Care’s online CBT program to get started with this type of therapy. Mantra Care even provides a mobile app for on-the-go treatment. Book your free consultation to know more about it.
The most important thing is to reach out for help if you feel like you can’t handle it on your own. Please don’t hesitate to seek professional help if necessary. Remember, you are not alone in this!
To conclude, hypochondriac OCD is a very real and debilitating mental disorder that can be extremely difficult to deal with. However, there are ways to identify it and get treatment. Also, understand that you are not alone in this battle. There are many people out there who understand what you are going through and can offer support.
Moreover, don’t forget to be patient with yourself. Dealing with OCD can be a lifelong battle, but it is possible to make progress. Seek professional help if you feel like you are struggling to cope. With treatment, you can learn to manage your symptoms and live a fulfilling life. Thanks for reading!
A Word From Mantra Care
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.
At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.