Can obsessing/focussing make symptoms worse? - Anxiety Support

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Can obsessing/focussing make symptoms worse?


Is it possible that by focussing on a health symptom it can make it worse? If so, any advice about how to stop focussing. I'm trying to keep busy but the anxious thoughts are going round and round in my head,driving me mad. Some days I can deal with it better than others,but days like today I can't get it out of my head, even though I'm trying to keep busy and distract myself.

13 Replies

I do think as having health anxiety myself that focusing on a symptom does make it worse for me , then usually I will find something else wrong while i am doing so & on it goes

I also have genuine health problems & the more I focus on pain , I feel it even more , even though its very hard not to when something is hurting

It has been said to go with how you feel & say "come on do your worse " it might sound a bit crazy but it does work , takes practise & not quite there myself yet , but its the fact you are accepting it rather than fighting it

Some days can be worse than others , but the more you try & stop fighting your feelings , it really does start to help

My mind can keep going even when I am in a conversation with someone , I can still be thinking , often wished I had an on of button

Dont no if this will help any

whywhy xxx

lostinspace in reply to Hidden

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I guess that I knew the answer, but sometimes it's good to have confirmation, especially from a fellow sufferer.


Focussing on one aliment just makes it seem 100 times worse as I know from personal experience.

Also Googling one symptom can easily lead onto a dozen other illnesses as I've done too many times to remember!

lostinspace in reply to Bramwell

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I've learnt my lesson the hard way re Googling, and now don't do it any more as it just feeds the fear. Take care.

The simple answer is yes. By focussing on any issue we tend to scan ourself/our environment for evidence we are ill. Google is a fantastic tool, but can be dangerous for those of us looking for evidence that we are unwell, or unable to cope.

Google headaches and you are more likely to find out you have a tumour and you will die/require an operation than you are dehydrated and need a drink of water.

It is perhaps more helpful to write down your thoughts and look for ways to challenge them. Ask yourself "Is it fact or opinion?". Often our thoughts are merely opinion with no grounding in fact.

Dear Lostinspace,

Perhaps it might help to focus on your breathing, such as through breathing exercises.

I wish you well.

KIndest regards,


Absoutely! It's one of the way's health anxiety is maintained - focus on your symptom, become more aware, it feels worse, raise anxiety levels and more symptoms :/

Frankie007 in reply to evilimbic

I agree, being hyper vigilant about a certain part of you body makes every sensation magnified...


Definitely your brain is logging on to your fears so making the symptoms worse

Yes I have been doing that for yrs to the extent that it became normal for me

Thank you for posting this even though it was years ago!!! I’m living this now!!!

Me too. It’s awful. I irrationally worry about my heart. A lot.

Yes it’s horrible!!!!! I have fears of cancer!

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