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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Community
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Avatar universal

OCD & STD'S

Hi

I am a 26 year old male in the UK. I've always suffered from compulsive checking, doors, lights etc... But lately my compulsions have moved onto health anxiety and doubt. I have convinced myself of most illness from self diagnosing & now having to deal with a fear of HIV. I had a sexual encounter with an unknown female over 3 months ago who told me she was always careful and healthy. Since that night I have obsessed over HIV, to the point of taking 5 tests to the maximum period of 12 weeks. Each time I receive a test result I feel relieved for around 10 days, then the fear returns or I doubt the test. After reading the symptoms of HIV I have began to develop them, sore throat, rash, ulcers. I had no health problems before I allowed myself to be sucked into this constant state of fear.

Is it common for someone with OCD to feel this way and doubt the medical profession as much as I do?

Please if anyone can help I would appreciate. I don't want to test again as it will only serve as a quick 'fix' until the doubt returns.
5 Responses
1699033 tn?1514113133
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hi and welcome to the OCD forum.  

I understand exactly where you are coming from being a checker myself and having gone through HIV anxiety.  

The Centers for Disease Control states that 97 percent of people that test for HIV will produce antibodies within the first 3 months.  The average is actually 25 days.  So if you are negative out to 12 weeks, then you are most definitely negative.  The symptoms you have are brought on by your own anxiety.  We become hypersensitive to our bodies and look for anything remotely related to what we are fearing.  Also, doubt is a big thing for people suffering from OCD.  It is just one of many irrational thoughts that OCD sufferers have.  

You did not mention seeking professional help for your OCD.  I know that in the UK it is different with socialized medicine than what it is here in the states.  I know it takes a while to see a psychiatrist and that you need a referall from your doctor.  I think that is what you should do.  Get the referral and get in line for an appointment with a psychiatrist.  

In the mean time, you can do breathing exercises which will calm you down, slow down your heart rate.  It helps to journal your thoughts so for example you write down the negative thought and replace it with a positive one.  This is good to bring to the psychiatrist so that they can see the thought process you have.  Meditation also helps.  I know this is hard and we all want a quick fix but if there really was one, then there would be no need for these types of forums.  It *****, it truly does but you are your best motivator and you need to start taking steps to help yourself.  Even the checking is something that probably intruded on your day-to-day life.  It all needs to be addressed or it just keeps coming back.  

Post again if you need anything else.  
1699033 tn?1514113133
COMMUNITY LEADER
I see I got flagged for a word that wasn't even a cuss word...well I know not to use that one anymore. :)
1806750 tn?1323310042
are you on medication for your OCD?  If you are, talk to your doctor about your recent concerns and maybe you need an increase or modification.  If not, you could benefit from something like prozac, celexa , zoloft ect.  It helped my friend tremendously.  Coping skills that may be helpful is to make a list of the things you know to be true.  for instance - I am healthy and disease free - I will not live in fear and worry - I will not obsess over false beliefs, but will live a life of truth - I live in peace and harmony with myself- I am confident and believe the things that are true - I will not doubt and question the things that I already know the answer to - I trust the people that have been put in my life to help me
Write your list and when you start to over think and feel anxious and fearful, read your list of facts.  Even if you have to read it several times, do it. You can control your thoughts and calm yourself down before all the negative lies come in.  The last thing you want to do is entertain negative thoughts.  Stop yourself and speak truth.  Hope I helped
Avatar universal
Thank you very much for your help guys. I am starting CBT soon, as well as taking citalopram, although the side effects are quite troublesome.
I will definitely take your advice and write a list and try meditation. I just can't seem to grasp the reality of my situation, it's as though one nagging thought overpowers scientific fact. I have been told by my doc to break the cycle of testing as he believes I have tested far too much. I don't know whether it's having HIV I fear, or fear of ever getting HIV. It sometimes feels more of a phobia than something I'm worried I have. One thing that certainly got me in this mess was the window period. Having to wait 3 months is simply unbearable and I think the hurdles I've jumped throughout that time have ultimately taken a toll on my health. I wish I was one of those people who could take an 8 week test (as recommended by so many doctors) and move on. On top of that I live in an area with the lowest HIV prevalence in the UK. I don't blame the health service for my worries but I have never been reassured at a sexual health clinic, they've always had the 'well you never know' attitude. My doctor on the other hand claims I have more chance of being struck by lightning. I understand this turns back round into assurance seeking though. It goes (negative thoughts - research - test - reassurance) and then back to the beginning on a constant loop. Is this common in OCD? I want to plan for the future without this constant state of worry.

Thank you again : )
1699033 tn?1514113133
COMMUNITY LEADER
Yes, anxiety is a viscious cycle.  When we give in to the thoughts, it just makes it worse.  I'm glad you are learning CBT, it does help but requires effort on your part.  You are taking what I call Celexa.  It will take a good 4-6 weeks before you start to see the full benefits.  In the mean time, it does exacerbate the anxiety a bit.  How long have you been taking it?  Also, perhaps you can talk to your doctor about a benzodiazepine to take when the anxiety is really bad.  You won't have to take it long-term...just until you see the benefits of the Celexa.  Most people try very hard not to take it but you know it is there just in case.  
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