OCD and Health Anxiety: What’s the Difference?

Numerous men and women confuse OCD with health stress and anxiety. While health and fitness nervousness can resemble OCD, they are not the identical thing.

We all may well be concerned about our wellness from time to time — but if constant wellness nervousness is interfering with your working day-to-working day life, it might be time to seek assistance.

Though some people’s obsessive-compulsive ailment (OCD) focuses on their well being, wellness nervousness (in some cases termed hypochondriasis) is not a form of OCD, and OCD can contain ideas and anxieties that are not associated to ailment.

If you are suffering from OCD, wellness panic, or both, effective treatment plans are offered.

In short, no well being stress and anxiety and OCD are two distinct concepts.

OCD consists of obtaining repetitive, upsetting, intrusive ideas (obsessions) and experience the want to handle those people obsessions with rituals (compulsions), which can also be distressing.

From time to time obsessions and compulsions concentration on a “theme.”

Examples of OCD themes consist of:

  • hurt OCD, which is the place you get worried that you’ll hurt yourself or others
  • symmetry or buy OCD, exactly where you really feel nervous when items are not in order
  • spiritual OCD, the place you get worried about unintentionally or deliberately sinning

It’s also attainable for your OCD to revolve about fears of health issues.

Contamination OCD is a sort of OCD exactly where you have obsessions and compulsions close to filth and germs, generally with an fundamental concern that you will turn out to be ill.

Common contamination-connected compulsions include:

  • too much handwashing
  • too much cleaning
  • in search of reassurance from doctors

It is also possible to have wellbeing-related obsessions and compulsions that aren’t focused on contamination. For instance, you may experience the need to have to repeat a mantra to “protect” on your own from health issues or unexpected loss of life.

Health and fitness stress and anxiety is characterized by irrational worries about acquiring significant clinical conditions. Someone with health nervousness may well visualize symptoms or misinterpret minimal symptoms as a indication that they have a major health problem.

Health anxiousness is not classified as a distinct disease in the Diagnostic and Statistical Guide of Psychological Issues, 5th version (DSM-5).

Nonetheless, if you encounter significant anxiousness about your well being, you may be classified as possessing:

  • disease nervousness disorder, which is when you have no actual physical signs or symptoms or only delicate symptoms
  • somatic symptom condition, which is when you have bodily signs and symptoms that you understand as distressing

We may possibly all come to feel anxious about our health and fitness from time to time. It is widespread to be worried about your health and fitness and to worry about the likelihood of falling sick. All through the COVID-19 pandemic, in unique, lots of men and women understandably felt specifically nervous about their well being.

On the other hand, health anxiety goes beyond standard amounts of issue. Wellbeing stress and anxiety will become an concern when it interferes with your ability to perform. For case in point, it could possibly interfere with your relationships, university or get the job done overall performance, and other parts of your day to day lifestyle.

In some cases, men and women with authentic diseases have their signs or symptoms dismissed as sickness stress and anxiety disorder. When you’re enduring this, it isn’t straightforward to explain to irrespective of whether your considerations are justified or regardless of whether you are having irrational anxieties about your health and fitness.

There is no litmus check for this, but either way, you have earned compassionate procedure that will take your concerns critically, even if they aren’t symptomatic of a bodily illness. Obtaining health nervousness is not the identical as “faking” or exaggerating ailment. It is a issue that really should be taken severely.

What is the difference among health nervousness and OCD? It’s simple to miscalculation one particular for the other.

Both of those involve what may well seem like irrational anxieties, distressing ideas about health and fitness, and taking excessive techniques to stay clear of slipping unwell or getting diagnosed with an disease.

Simply because the DSM-5 does not categorize health and fitness nervousness as a mental ailment, it doesn’t specify any signs. On the other hand, “health anxiety” refers to becoming irrationally apprehensive about your wellness — exclusively, that you have a clinical issue.

Well being anxiety can refer to disease anxiousness ailment or somatic symptom condition.

Disease anxiousness ailment

The indicators of ailment stress and anxiety disorder incorporate:

  • staying preoccupied with having or getting a major sickness for 6 months or more time (while the certain ailment you dread might improve during that time) in spite of owning no somatic signs and symptoms
  • regularly checking one’s system for signals of illness
  • consistently examining in with doctors or trying to get health care treatment or the reverse: maladaptively avoiding health care appointments
  • remaining extremely nervous about overall health
  • becoming quickly alarmed about personalized well being concerns

To be identified with sickness stress and anxiety dysfunction, the health care experienced need to rule out the chance that your signs or symptoms are brought on by despair and other psychological disorders.

Somatic symptom ailment

Although ailment panic disorder can revolve about imagined signs or symptoms, somatic symptom dysfunction is when true discomfort and signs or symptoms bring about you considerable distress.

The signs or symptoms of somatic symptom condition incorporate:

  • experiencing wonderful distress or disruption thanks to a single or a lot more bodily indicators
  • extreme views associated to those symptoms, in particular really anxious ideas
  • extreme time and vitality invested on overall health issues

This dysfunction can only be identified if at the very least 1 symptom is constantly current, even though the mother nature of the symptom can improve more than time.


On the other hand, OCD is exclusively characterised by obsessions and compulsions.

The signs or symptoms of OCD include:

  • obsessions, which are intrusive, distressing, persistent ideas, photographs, or urges
  • compulsions, which are particular functions you perform repeatedly to end the ideas or soothe your distress

In accordance to the DSM-5 requirements for diagnosing OCD, your obsessions and compulsions need to just take up at minimum an hour of your working day or substantially impact your ability to functionality.

In OCD, your obsessions and compulsions could revolve all over much more than just health. For illustration, if you also experience obsessions and compulsions about protection from criminal offense or natural disasters, it could possibly suggest that OCD is at enjoy, not just wellness nervousness.

No matter of no matter if you have OCD, sickness stress and anxiety problem, or somatic symptom problem, it can assist to search for skilled support. All 3 troubles can be treated, and remedy is the 1st port of get in touch with.

Therapists typically use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to address OCD, illness anxiety ailment, and somatic symptom dysfunction. A unique sort of CBT named exposure and reaction avoidance (ERP) treatment is particularly productive for managing OCD.

Self-care approaches can be beneficial for anyone with a psychological health and fitness problem or anybody who’s at present experiencing a excellent offer of strain and nervousness. This can include:

In some situations, medication can be prescribed for OCD or well being stress and anxiety, though this is not constantly essential.

Overall health anxiousness is not a sort of OCD, but it can seem identical. Health issues stress and anxiety ailment and somatic symptom dysfunction, even so, have extremely distinct analysis criteria in comparison to OCD.

Both wellbeing anxiousness and OCD are treatable. These disorders can be managed by therapy and self-care procedures.

If you suspect you have OCD or overall health anxiety — or if you’re just experience specially nervous about slipping sick — you’re not on your own. Support is obtainable.

Not positive in which to get aid? Choose a glance at Psych Central’s means on finding a therapist and selecting just one that is effective for you.