HEALTH & MEDICAL OCD, HYPOCHONDRIASIS
OCD that focuses on medical and health worries is called hypochondriasis. Hypochondriasis is an exaggerated obsessive worry about one's health (in the absence of supporting medical evidence, or out of proportion to an actual but non-urgent health risk). People worry about cancer, HIV, AIDS, heart attacks, germs, infectious diseases, epidemics, dementia, brain damage, stroke, asbestos, chemicals, unplanned pregnancy, and food poisoning, to name just a few.
Click to preview or order this book by a former client who suffered with Hypochondriasis about her therapy with Dr. Brodsky
They avoid people, places, and things that they see as a health risk--crowds, hospitals, public restrooms, school, certain ethnic groups, cleaning fluids, and certain foods. They worry about themselves, loved ones, or spreading an infectious disease to others. The sufferer might compulsively do endless internet research for medical information, visit multiple doctors (or avoid doctors), get multiple lab tests, adopt extremely restrictive diets, use new age alternative providers, consume a long list of "cures," take dozens of online psychological tests, and seek reassurance from others.
With Hypochondriasis OCD, ordinary physiological sensations can be misinterpreted as cancer, heart disease, a stroke, ulcer, unplanned pregnancy, and numerous other major illnesses. The problem is worse because most of these sensations are themselves classic physical symptoms caused by anxiety itself: