Home > Health Concern — Symptoms & Treatment
Health Concern — Symptoms & Treatment
Health Concern Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a sub-type of OCD that causes a person to have obsessive thoughts about developing a serious medical condition. The intrusive thoughts that a person with Health Concern OCD experiences are irrational and exaggerated, which create the need to perform compulsions to cope.
Common Symptoms of Health Concern OCD
Typical symptoms of Health Concern OCD are related to obsessions about contracting a life-threatening medical condition. Individuals suffering from Health Concern OCD will ruminate and worry about this fear to an unreasonable and illogical degree. These individuals are also known to seek medical help and get repeated opinions even after receiving conclusive testing. This sub-type of OCD continues to leave doubt and uncertainty about health Concern and illness.
Common Obsessions of Health Concern OCD
The symptoms of Health Concern OCD can vary from person to person but has a theme of health anxiety focused on the fear of getting a disease or developing a dreaded medical condition.
Some example of common obsessions a person may experience with Health Concern OCD include:
- Fear of getting HIV, cancer, or any other life-threatening medical condition
- Obsessing over physical sensations and what kind of medical condition they may related to
- Fears of having brain tumor
- Fear of pneumonia or lung cancer
- Fear of an STD
- Fear of having a heart attack if they feel pain in their left arm or chest
- Fear their appendix is bursting if they have an abdominal cramp
Common Compulsions of Health Concern OCD
Obsessions related to Health Concern OCD can cause varying compulsive behaviors within different people suffering from this type of OCD.
Some common compulsions that are experienced with Health Concern OCD include the following:
- Multiple visits to their doctor’s office or “doctor hopping”
- Repeatedly examining themselves for symptoms
- Creating a habit of looking up their symptoms online
- Repeatedly seeking more advanced testing
- Getting multiple medical examinations for one of their alleged conditions
- Avoiding people, objects, or situations where they may by exposed to diseases
The constant fear of having a serious health condition can cause a person to spend most of their day in a doctor’s office. A person with Health Concern OCD is not able to live their lives without thinking they could be terminally ill. Luckily, they are not seriously ill but rather only suffering from this form of OCD.
Treatment for Health Concern OCD
People suffering from Health Concern OCD are encouraged to seek treatment from a mental health treatment provider that specializes in the treatment of OCD. OCD specialists are equipped and prepared to treat a wide array of OCD subtypes, including Health Concern OCD. Like all types of OCD, Health Concern OCD can be treated with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), specifically with treatment approaches called Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP), and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
Mindful-Based CBT teaches patients that everyone experiences intrusive thoughts. Individuals will also learn that intrusive thoughts have no power over them and that by responding to their thoughts through compulsive behaviors, their thoughts are given more strength and credibility and their fears and obsessions are strengthened and reinforced. Mindfulness-Based CBT is a very effective OCD treatment, especially when combined with ERP.
ERP exposes patients to situations related to their intrusive thoughts that cause them anxiety. The goal of this treatment is for the patient to prevent himself or herself from completing their compulsive behaviors when triggered by intrusive thoughts. The situations that are confronted will intensify over time, until the patient can face and overcome their most feared scenario. Once they are able to stop themselves from responding to their intrusive thoughts with compulsive behaviors, they can experience tremendous relief from the symptoms of OCD.
If patients are suffering from severe levels of anxiety due to their OCD, they may benefit from participating in treatment at an Intensive Outpatient (IOP) OCD treatment program, as is offered by The Gateway Institute. The Gateway Institute offers Intensive Outpatient treatment options as well as regular outpatient psychotherapy sessions, and a free, 30 minute face-to-face consultation with one of our experienced and caring clinicians at all three of our beautiful locations in Orange County, Scottsdale, Arizona, and the San Francisco Bay Area. OCD symptoms typically worsen over time and can take over a person’s life, so it is very important to seek OCD treatment as soon as possible with a skilled and dedicated OCD specialist who can provide expertise and support during this journey.
Other Common Sub-Types of OCD
It is not uncommon for an individual suffering from one OCD sub-type to also suffer from other sub-types. Treating co-occurring sub-types simultaneously is important in finding balance and healing from OCD.
The Gateway Institute is dedicated and committed, and we will do all that we can to ensure success, and fulfill our mission to return you and your family to optimal health, and well-being.
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