Do you find yourself constantly worrying about your health? Do you spend hours researching health information online or talking to doctors? If so, you may have health OCD. Health OCD is a type of OCD that is focused on health and illness. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of health OCD, how it can impact your life, and what you can do to overcome your fears. So, keep reading!
- 1 What Is Health OCD?
- 2 What Are The Symptoms Of Health OCD?
- 3 What Causes Health OCD?
- 4 How Does Health OCD Impacts Life?
- 5 How To Overcome Your Fears Of Health OCD?
- 6 Conclusion
- 7 A Word From Mantra Care
What Is Health OCD?
Health OCD is a type of OCD where a person is fixated on their health and the health of others. They may have fears of contracting diseases, becoming sick, or dying. People with Health OCD often engage in excessive hand-washing, cleaning, and sanitizing. They may also avoid people and places they believe to be contaminated.
It is more likely related to health anxiety, which is when a person is anxious about their health. But does not have any obsessive thoughts or compulsions related to it. However, some people with Health OCD do experience health anxiety.
Moreover, this condition is also listed under “Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).
This means that it is a real and serious mental disorder that can be treated. People need to understand that this is a real disorder and not just “being clean.” So, if you or someone you know is struggling with Health OCD, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Avoidance can make the problem worse and lead to more intense compulsions.
What Are The Symptoms Of Health OCD?
Symptoms are important to consider when determining whether you have health OCD. It is not uncommon for people with OCD to experience other mental disorders as well. So it is important to consult with a professional to get an accurate diagnosis. That said, here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Intense fear of becoming sick or contracting a disease
- Excessive worry about your own health or the health of loved ones
- Spending excessive amounts of time researching health information
- Constantly checking your body for signs of illness
- Avoiding activities or places that could potentially expose you to germs or sickness
- Experiencing anxiety or panic attacks related to your fears
- Obsessively washing and sanitizing your hands or home in an attempt to prevent illness
- Isolating yourself from others out of fear of contracting a disease
The symptoms of this condition can vary in intensity. Some people only experience mild anxiety while others may have full-blown panic attacks. If you think you might have health OCD, it is important to seek professional help. Otherwise, your fears could start to take over your life.
In fact, the symptoms of mental disorders like OCD, PTSD, and anxiety can often be mistaken for physical illnesses. So it is important to get a proper diagnosis from a mental health professional. Also, keep in mind that not everyone who experiences anxiety or worry is necessarily dealing with OCD. It is only when these fears become excessive and start to interfere with your life that they become a problem.
What Causes Health OCD?
The causes of this type of OCD are not fully understood, but it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Moreover, a previous history of trauma or abuse may play a role in the development of health OCD.
There are several possible triggers for health OCD. For some people, it may be a specific event, such as a family member becoming ill. For others, it may be something more general, such as seeing news reports about a disease outbreak. So, the major causes that develop health OCD are;
Family history of health OCD or other anxiety disorders
This can be the primary cause as it is seen that this type of OCD runs in families. If someone in your family has health OCD, you may be more likely to develop the condition. Because it’s a genetic disposition. However, there are other environmental factors that can activate the gene.
There are studies that suggest that people with a family history of anxiety disorders are more likely to have an overactive amygdala. The amygdala is the part of the brain that controls fear and anxiety.
A specific event
For some people, a specific event may trigger health OCD. This could be anything from witnessing an accident to seeing someone you know become ill. Majorly that specific event is related to health conditions and it makes you more anxious about your health. Moreover, specific events can also trigger underlying health anxiety that you may not have been aware of before. For many people, this condition can be the result of general anxiety and stress. So, you must not overthink it as this increases the health of OCD.
It is also seen that people who live in areas where there is a lot of illness or who are exposed to media coverage of diseases are more likely to develop health OCD. This is because they become more anxious about their own health and the health of those around them.
Lifestyle changes are also included in these environmental factors. As an unhealthy lifestyle is one of the major causes of health OCD. An unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and exposure to toxins can all contribute to anxiety and stress levels.
Imbalance of chemicals in the brain
This might sound very scientific to many but it’s true that an imbalance of chemicals in the brain can lead to health OCD. These chemicals are known as neurotransmitters, and they help to regulate mood. An imbalance of these chemicals has been linked to anxiety and other mental health conditions. Because the brain is the root of all the problems, be it physical or mental.
These are some of the major causes that lead to health OCD. If you think you may have this condition, it’s important to seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide you with the support and treatment you need to overcome your fears and live a healthy life.
How Does Health OCD Impacts Life?
In life, people often associate the term “OCD” with a need for things to be clean or in order. However, OCD can take on many different forms, one of which is health OCD. People who suffer from health OCD live in constant fear of contracting an illness or becoming injured. As a result, there are several consequences and negative impacts that health OCD can have on a person’s life. Some of these include;
- Isolation and social withdrawal: Due to the fear of germs and illness, people with health OCD may start to avoid social situations and activities. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- Interference with work or school: Constantly worrying about contracting an illness or being injured can interfere with a person’s ability to focus on work or school. This can lead to problems such as absenteeism, falling behind in class, or poor job performance.
- Avoidance of medical care: People with health OCD may avoid seeking necessary medical care out of fear of becoming ill or finding out they have a serious condition. This avoidance can have dangerous consequences if a person is actually sick or injured and needs treatment.
These negative impacts highlight just how debilitating health OCD can be. If the situation gets avoided, the cycle of fear and anxiety can be hard to break. And it can eventually lead to more mental health disorders. Fortunately, there are treatment options available that can help people suffering from health OCD.
Hence, understand the situation identify the symptoms, and seek professional help to overcome them.
How To Overcome Your Fears Of Health OCD?
This condition is real and often characterized by an excessive preoccupation with health. And the belief that one is constantly in danger of contracting a serious illness. People with Health OCD may fixate on particular body parts or organs, fearing that they are diseased or malfunctioning. They may also obsess over healthy eating and exercise, as well as cleanliness and hygiene.
Educate yourself about OCD
Learning about OCD can help to understand the condition and how it works. This understanding can be empowering and may help to reduce some of the fear and anxiety. In fact, if you are aware of your OCD and the way it operates, you may be able to better control your thoughts and behaviors. Moreover, you can learn specific strategies for dealing with your OCD.
Talk to somebody who understands
When you identify your conditions then you should find someone with whom you can talk about it. This could be a therapist, doctor, or even a friend or family member who is supportive and understanding. Talking openly about your OCD can help to reduce some of the shame and secrecy that surrounds the condition. Because with mental health conditions the stigma is still unfortunately attached to it.
Join a support group
There are many OCD support groups available online and in most communities. These groups provide a safe and supportive environment in which to share your experiences and learn from others who are dealing with similar issues. Support groups are often led by a mental health professional and can be very helpful in managing OCD. It is a safe place where you can openly talk about your thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment.
Challenge your thoughts
Once you have a better understanding of OCD, you can start to challenge the negative and irrational thoughts that contribute to your fear. For example, if you are afraid of contracting an illness, remind yourself that you are taking precautions to avoid this (e.g., washing your hands, avoiding sick people). Moreover, challenges are what make us grow as individuals. If you face your fears, you may find that they are not as bad as you thought. This can help to reduce the power that OCD has over your life.
Talk to a therapist
It is often helpful to talk to a therapist who specializes in OCD. They can provide you with support and guidance as you work to overcome your fears. A therapist will use therapies, such as CBT and ERP, which have been proven to be effective in treating OCD. If you are struggling to overcome your fears on your own, professional help may be the best option for you. If you are unable to find the right therapist, consider Mantra Care.
Mantra Care is an online platform that connects you to a licensed therapist who specializes in OCD. With Mantra Care, you can get the help and support you need to overcome your fears and live a life free from OCD. Book your free consultation today.
Practice healthy coping mechanisms
Healthy coping mechanisms are a key part of managing any mental health condition. When you are dealing with OCD, it is important to find healthy ways to cope with your thoughts and feelings. This may include exercise, relaxation techniques, and journaling. Moreover, healthy coping mechanisms can help to prevent relapses and keep your OCD under control. There are many helpful resources available online and in most communities. You can also find Mantra Care to be a valuable resource for healthy coping mechanisms.
By following these tips, you can begin to take control of your OCD and live a life free from fear. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. There are many people who understand what you are going through and are here to support you. Mantra Care is here to help you every step of the way. Book your free consultation today.
To conclude, health OCD is a very real and debilitating condition that can be extremely difficult to overcome. However, with the right understanding, support, and treatment, it is possible to make a full recovery. It is a real and serious condition that should not be taken lightly. If you think you may be suffering from health OCD, please reach out to a mental health professional for help.
Hence, you must remember that you are not alone in this battle. There are many people who suffer from health OCD, and you can find support from them. You should never be ashamed of your condition. And you should always seek help when you need it. With the right treatment, you can overcome your fears and live a healthy and happy 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.