Do you find yourself constantly worrying about your health? Are you convinced that you have a serious illness, even though all of your tests come back normal? If so, you may be suffering from health anxiety. Health anxiety OCD is a type of OCD that is characterized by excessive worrying about one’s health. In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, and some common myths related to this disorder, as well as treatment options.
- 1 What Is Health Anxiety OCD?
- 2 What Are The Symptoms Of Health Anxiety OCD?
- 3 What Causes Health Anxiety OCD?
- 4 Is Health Anxiety OCD Related To Hypochondria?
- 5 Treatment for Health Anxiety OCD
- 6 How To Find An OCD Therapist?
- 7 What Things Does Society Get Wrong About Health Anxiety OCD?
- 8 Conclusion
- 9 A Word From Mantra Care
What Is Health Anxiety OCD?
Health anxiety OCD is a type of OCD that is characterized by excessive worry and obsessions about one’s health. People with this type of OCD may have fears about contracting a disease, being injured, or dying. They may also have compulsions such as checking their body for signs of illness, researching health information online, or seeking reassurance from others.
Compulsions are behaviors that a person feels compelled to do in order to relieve their anxiety. Checking behaviors are common, as people with this condition often feel the need to check their bodies for signs of illness or injury. Checking can take many forms, such as looking at oneself in the mirror, feeling one’s body for lumps or bumps, or checking medical websites for information about diseases.
Also, the repetition in this is similar to that of other OCD types. A person with this condition may obsessively check their body for signs of illness or injury, research health information online, or seek reassurance from others. compulsions are often time-consuming and can interfere with a person’s ability to function in daily life.
For example, a person with health anxiety OCD may spend hours researching a medical condition on the internet, or they may avoid activities that they fear could lead to injury. So it is important to seek professional help if you think you may have this condition.
What Are The Symptoms Of Health Anxiety OCD?
There are a number of symptoms that are associated with health anxiety OCD. These include:
- Constantly worrying about your health.
- Obsessing over your appearance.
- Comparing yourself to others.
- Avoid medical appointments or tests.
- Check your body for signs of illness.
- Constantly researching health information.
- Feeling guilty or ashamed if you don’t take care of your health
These are just a few of the symptoms that someone may experience. In addition, people with this type of disorder exhibit some obsessions and compulsions related to their health. The obsessions are intrusive, unwanted thoughts about their health. The compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental rituals that the person feels they need to do in order to reduce their anxiety.
Common Health Anxiety OCD Obsessions
There are a number of common obsessions that people with this condition experience. These include:
- Worries about contracting a deadly disease.
- Fears of having a serious medical condition.
- Concerns about not being able to tell if they are sick or not.
- Thoughts that they have already contracted an illness.
- Beliefs that they are responsible for their own health or the health of others.
- Fears that everyday aches or pain can lead to serious illness.
Common Health Anxiety OCD Compulsions
There are also a number of common compulsions that people engage in. These include:
- Avoidance of anything related to illness or hospitals.
- Excessive hand washing or cleaning.
- Checking their body for signs of illness.
- Research and reassurance-seeking behaviors.
- The mental rituals such as counting or repeating words.
- Seeking second opinions when test reports shows no illness.
It is also believed that those with health anxiety OCD can develop other disorders such as depression, social anxiety, and eating disorders. This is due to the fact that obsessions and compulsions can interfere with work, school, and social activities. Even they affect their everyday routine and wellness.
What Causes Health Anxiety OCD?
The causes of health anxiety OCD are not fully understood. Still, some studies have found that it may be related to changes in the brain and how it processes information. Here are some of the causes listed below;
Traumatic Event Or Illness
It is common for people who have experienced a traumatic event or been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness to develop this disorder. This is because they may
These traumatic events can be either physical or psychological, such as being in a car accident or witnessing a loved one die. Childhood trauma has also been linked to this. This is because children who experience trauma are more likely to develop anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder in adulthood. become fixated on their health out of fear that something similar will happen to them again.
Family History Of Anxiety
If you have a family member who suffers from an anxiety disorder, you may be more likely to develop one yourself. This is because anxiety can be passed down genetically. In this case, it is more likely that you will develop the same disorder as your relative. So there are high chances that if your mother suffers from OCD, you might also suffer from it.
Imbalance of Chemicals in the Brain
People with health anxiety OCD often have an imbalance of chemicals in their brains, such as serotonin and dopamine. This can cause them to experience symptoms such as panic attacks, sweating, and racing heartbeats. It largely includes the fear of having a heart attack or stroke. More often, an imbalance of these chemicals is linked to other mental disorders such as depression.
Certain Personality Traits
This disorder is more common in people who are perfectionists or have a lot of self-doubts. This is because they tend to be more anxious and worried about their health. So, if you have any of these traits, you may be more likely to develop health anxiety OCD. Some personality traits include;
- Constantly doubting oneself
- Being a perfectionist
- Having low self-esteem
- Being overly critical of oneself.
Is Health Anxiety OCD Related To Hypochondria?
Hypochondria is a disorder in which a person is excessively and unduly worried about having a serious illness. People with hypochondria are preoccupied with the idea that they are sick, or that they are going to get sick. They may be convinced that a minor symptom is evidence of a serious disease.
Health anxiety OCD is different from hypochondria in several ways.
- First, people with health anxiety OCD tend to worry about their health for longer periods of time than those with hypochondria. And the content of obsessions is usually different. They are more likely to worry about contracting a specific disease, such as AIDS or cancer, or about developing symptoms of a disease, such as paralysis or blindness.
- Second, people with health anxiety OCD obsessively check their bodies for signs of illness (e.g., checking pulse, looking for skin rashes). It is related to physical sensations (e.g., feeling one’s heart racing) or to seeing blood or other bodily fluids. Checking can become so time-consuming and excessive that it interferes with daily activities.
- Third, people with health anxiety and OCD tend to seek reassurance from others about their health concerns. They may ask for frequent medical examinations, x-rays, or blood tests. And they are usually dissatisfied with the results of these tests, no matter how normal they are.
- Fourth, people with hypochondria generally do not have obsessions about contamination or germs. But people with health anxiety OCD often worry about contracting a disease from contaminated objects or surfaces, or from contact with someone who is sick.
- Finally, people with health anxiety and OCD are more likely to have other mental disorders. Such as depression, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders. This is probably due to the fact that worrying about one’s health can be very stressful and debilitating.
Treatment for Health Anxiety OCD
If you are suffering from this disorder, there are many treatment options available. The most common treatments are therapy and medication. For therapies, you can consider visiting the website of Mantra Care. Here the experts of therapies will help you to understand your problem and will give you the necessary tools to cope with it.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This is a type of therapy that helps you change the way you think and behave. It can be very effective in treating health anxiety OCD because it helps you to challenge your negative thoughts and beliefs about your health. CBT is also helpful in teaching you how to manage your anxiety and stress.
This is another type of therapy that can help you to overcome your fears by gradually exposing you to the things that trigger your anxiety. This can be done either in real life or in imagination.
There are many different types of medication that can be used to treat health anxiety OCD. The most common type of medication is antidepressants. Antidepressants can help to reduce the symptoms of OCD by balancing the chemicals in your brain. Other types of medication that may be prescribed include
If you think you may be suffering from health anxiety OCD, it is important to speak to your doctor or mental health professional. They will be able to diagnose and treat you. Treatment can make a big difference in your life and help you to live a more normal life.
How To Find An OCD Therapist?
The first step is to find a therapist who specializes in treating OCD. You can ask your family doctor for referrals, or look online for therapists in your area. Once you’ve found a few potential therapists, it’s important to do your research and make sure they’re qualified to treat OCD.
The IOCDF has a great search tool on their website that can help you find a qualified therapist in your area. IOCDF refers to this type of search tool as a “Therapist Finder.”
You can also look for therapists who specialize in health anxiety OCD at Mantra Care. Just enter your zip code and choose “health anxiety OCD” from the list of specialties. If you’re not sure whether or not a therapist is qualified to treat OCD, you can always connect to their office. And ask to speak to the therapist through booking an appointment.
Once you’ve found a therapist that you feel comfortable with, the next step is to begin treatment. It will be really important to attend all of your appointments and to be as open and honest with your therapist as possible.
What Things Does Society Get Wrong About Health Anxiety OCD?
There are many things that people believe about health anxiety OCD that simply isn’t true. Here are some of the most common myths and misconceptions about it;
- Health anxiety OCD is just a phase.
- You can just snap out of it.
- It’s all in your head and not a mental illness.
- People believe OCD is a neurotic quirk and go away in some time. This is not always the case. Sometimes people need medication and/or therapy to manage their OCD.
- Health anxiety OCD is curable.
- If you have health anxiety OCD, you must be a hypochondriac.
- People with OCD actually enjoy compulsions.
- The sufferers of OCD can easily handle obsessions and wistfully get over them.
- Compulsions are only mental rituals.
- Once in a lifetime, everyone faces this so it’s not a big deal.
- It causes minor irritations, not any serious consequences.
These are the myths about health anxiety OCD that society gets wrong. If you or someone you know is struggling with health anxiety OCD, don’t believe the myths. It is important for everyone to understand that health anxiety OCD is a real mental illness that requires treatment.
In addition, it’s important to understand that health anxiety OCD is not the same as hypochondria. Also, it is not the same as being worried about your health. Health anxiety OCD is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by obsessions and compulsions related to health. Seek help from a mental health professional if you think you might have health anxiety OCD.
To conclude, it is evident that health anxiety OCD can be extremely debilitating. If you suffer from this condition, it is important to seek professional help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for this disorder to a great extent. However, medication may also be necessary in some cases. If you think you may suffer from this OCD, do not hesitate to reach out for help.
There is hope for those suffering from this type of OCD. With proper treatment, many people are able to live relatively normal lives. Do not let this condition control your life any longer. I hope this article has helped to shed some light on this often misunderstood condition. Thank you 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.