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Family Physician
Family Physician, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 12816
Experience:  Emergency Medicine and Family Practice for over 26 years
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My OCD fear is that I constantly worry about my heart. I

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My OCD fear is that I constantly worry about my heart. I have the OCD of repeated touching of objects and I fear that if I let go of something too quick that will affect the heart in a negative way. I have gone through CBT therapy and yet the thoughts still make me fear something will go wrong with my heart. I understand how the heart works but it seems I need some kind of reassurance to know that touching and letting go of objects does not affect the heart function from a scientific view?
There is absolutely no scientific basis to be worried about your heart because you are touching and then letting go of any object.

If you are still having these thoughts, and if they are causing you distress and/or interfering with your ability to do things on a daily basis, you need to speak with your physicians about adjusting your medications.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much. So bascially the heart functions by itself independently from any kind of physical touching and letting go of objects. I see my psychiatrist tomorrow about adjusting medications. Also if listening to same repeated music have any affect on the heart as well or is that just ocd again?

Absolutely - there is no connection between touching an object and heart function.

As for music - there is no evidence that listening to music is bad for your heart. If anything, listening to music can potentially reduce anxiety, stress and has in some studies had beneficial health effects.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you again. Basically I should just stop thinking about the heart when doing certain tasks and know that it functions involuntarily and autonomically and I should not worry about it when it comes to the OCD thoughts?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Doctor just one last question regarding heart function so none of my OCD thoughts can affect the heart function as well. Is there a link you could recommend that explains simply on how the human heart works where it may ease my thoughts?

Here is one link that looks at the benefits of music on the heart

There are huge textbooks written about the function of the heart. This is a relatively simple explanation of the heart function
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I forgot to mention when I cover the bottom of the cat litter box with a plastic bag I get worried when the center circle goes out of view again no effect on the heart and should I just try to ignore the circle when placing the bag over it?

There is NO effect on the heart from covering the bottom of the cat litter box.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for your patience with me regarding OCD thoughts and actions. My last follow up question is regarding what I can tell myself about the heart that it works involuntarily and has its own electrical system or something like that so that I can combat these thoughts which tell me touching or staring affects the heart? Is there one simple phrase or line that I can tell myself not to worry about the heart with reassurance these behaviors and thoughts will not affect me?

Regulation of the heart rate and rhythm, contraction and blood pressure are entirely automatic. They are not under voluntary control, do not require you to "think" about them, and are not impacted by touching things such as you have described.
Family Physician and 2 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One issue with staring that bothered me was when I pulled in my parking spot my car faces the opposite building and again the same old anxiety kicked in where it questioned whether I keep facing the building for a certain period of time would that affect the heart but I used logic and said this cannot affect the heart. Is trying not to focus on something like that building for example and just moving away safe to do when it comes to avoiding the staring of that object?

Facing a certain direction, staring at an object or building will have NO effect on your heart.

It does seem that your OCD is severe enough to be causing you significant distress that is disruptive to your ability to enjoy normal activities. Your personal physician may need to adjust medications to help you better control your symptoms.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you again I did speak with my psychiatrist today and he prescribed anafrel for my OCD. I do not understand why I get so focused on one thing where I get nervous about moving away from what I was staring at like the building in front of my car. Instead of staring there I simply walked to the other side of my car grabbed my work bag and glanced at the building and walked away towards my condo door. And again this has no effect on the heart at all?

Correct - this would have no effect on the heart.

I'm glad to hear that you spoke with your psychiatrist. As for the reason why you get focused on one thing - that is the OCD. The particular symptom varies between individuals. Hopefully the anafranil will help.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My OCD acted up today involving picking up and setting down a pen repeatedly. My anxiety makes me feel if I let go of the pen after setting it down something bad will affect my heart is this false thinking again from OCD and should I just ignore the thoughts that try to correlate to heart?

Good evening:
I'm sorry to hear that your OCD has been acting up.

There is absolutely NO basis to be concerned about this affecting your heart. You can safely put the pen down without any effect on your heart or your health in any way.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

yesterday and today my OCD acted up involving repeatedly picking up and setting down a particular pen. I eventually used logic and stopped the behavior earlier this afternoon with the help self talk from my friend at work. Even though heart functions separate from vision function I find myself staring at hyphens when I am reading text on my cell phone or computer so even if the heart is beating fast that is only from anxiety and not making myself look away from the hyphen which for some reason drives my OCD up? If I find myself beginning to stare or touch something more than once am I better off moving away immediately to avoid the OCD behavior patterns? thanks again

The rapid heart rate is caused by the anxiety - there is NO link between your action (or inaction) regarding looking away from the hyphen, picking up the pen or any of the other activities that have caused these symptoms.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Is it safe to put down objects like bottles or cup even if your heart is beating fast from anxiety or exertion? I have this ocd fear that if you set something down while your heart is beating fast that will affect the heart is this false?

It is 100% safe to put an object down when you heart is racing. Putting an object down will NOT cause any health problem. You do not need to be concerned about this at all.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thank you Dr also when I am in stores I get these staring spells at certain labels and decals am I best to move away from them quickly so as not to start the OCD behavior?

I understand that this can cause you significant anxiety, but you can be reassured that you will NOT have any actual health problems from this.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for all your help just one more question I had regarding watching tv program. When the camera panned from the curtains on the building from left to right where you could not see them anymore from the camera angle does that affect anything or is it just my anxiety imagination? again heart function and vision function are completely separate always?

Absolutely not - there is NO effect on the heart.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

so the anxiousness I feel is strictly from anxiety and I should not even worry about the heart in that or any similar situation? thank you again

Absolutely - there is NO connection between these various activities and your heart. Your anxiety is the cause.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Dr I had some anxiety issue walking into my condo earlier this evening. As I walked away from my car I felt that if I did not look back so many times at my car that would affect the heart. Also after I looked back out the corridor window at my car I hesitated turning away for the same fear however I focused on something else and slowly turned away and walked up the stairs. Did any of this have any bad affect on the heart even though it was beating a little faster or was this just OCD and I should stop it.

Absolutely NOT - looking at (or not looking at) your car will not have any effect on your heart.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Today my OCD acted up later in the day consisting of continued touching door knobs with my entire hand like a clutch then releasing it with my right hand then squeezing my left hand to feel my pulse. Also I kept clutching the top part of the steering wheel in my car with my left hand before I exited the car. Are any of these harmful to the heart or is this just OCD and I should just try not to worry and keep repeating them? Sorry to ask again if the heart is safe and is it because it is functioning under a different system then when I use my hands like I described? I promise to give you a big bonus tomorrow my paypal was hacked so please do not think I have forgotten to rate you excellent! Thank you for helping me.

NO - none of these things will cause you any problems with your heart. This is your OCD and the anxiety associated with the OCD.

Honestly, there is nothing to worry about. This anxiety will NOT cause you any heart problems.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

so even if my heart was beating fast from caffeine intake and anxiety during these OCD behaviors I should not worry about the heart. Also is the system where I control the movement separate from the heart functioning? Like if I am touching the steering wheel over and over I do not have to worry about how it can affect the heart beating? Thank you again so much for helping me Doctor

The increase in heart rate is a natural, normal and appropriate response to the release of epinephrine (adrenaline) - a hormone secreted by adrenal gland. Hormone is response for the "fight or flight response" - preparing the body to "fight" or "flee" when the mind/body senses danger.
(Imagine the cave man coming face to face with a saber-toothed tiger). In the case of OCD - the "danger" is the fear that something will happen if you don't do a certain action.

Once you accept that there is honestly no danger - that you mind is the cause of your symptoms - you should be able to relax, which will reduce your heart rate, which will then help you become more relaxed.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for the explanation just one more thing though does the heart function independently from the movements I make with my hands as far as gripping or touching and aside from the adrenaline? Thank you so much

Simple movements etc do NOT influence the heart.

Of course, exercise (climbing stair, running etc) will increase the heart rate - a normal response to increase the supply of blood and oxygen to muscles doing the work. This again is perfectly normal and necessary.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

hello again can staring at the back of a tv remote then turning it right side up and setting it down affect anything or is this just my anxiety playing tricks with my mind again? there is no way the heart can be affected by this simple movement because vision and heart functions are separate?

Vision and heart function are entirely separate...

This will NOT cause you any heart or other health problems.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello Doctor my staring OCD has been acting up the last couple days particularly before I exit my car or another car I tend to stare at the A/C label above the buttons. I have been taking less time to look at them and then turn away. This does not have any connection to the heart since vision and heart are separate? When I start to spend time staring at one of these what is the best way to break the stare?

I'm sorry to hear that you are having more problems. Absolutely NOT - this will NOT cause any problems with your heart.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello again my OCD keeps making me squeeze the top plastic top of a dunkin donuts stryofoam coffee cup. What is the best way to stop this and again this is harmless to the heart because they are not connected?

Like any of the behaviors or compulsions we have discussed - the key is understanding that you will not suffer any health problems (specifically NO heart problems) by stopping this behavior.
I hope things are better today. We have had this question open for 3 months. I will be happy to continue working with you - it is best if you open a new question each time.

If you put "For FamilyPhysician" in the subject line, I will be alerted to the question.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I will start a new page after this question follow up regarding my OCD. So no kind of staring at any object connects to the heart function and I should stop worrying about it? Also thinking about the OCD activity that I was doing the day before like staring at the wall sensor on the window does not affect the heart as well?

Absolutely - staring at objects will not influence the heart function, heart rhythm or any other body system. The only thing this does is waste your time. Understand that you an do other (productive and enjoyable) things with your life.

This does not have any effect on your heart.
Family Physician and 2 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I forgot to ask one last thing. If my OCD makes me hesitating to lower a cup or pop bottle on the counter this has no effect on the heart as well?

No effect at all on your heart!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My OCD acted up last night while looking at facebook posts on my laptop computer. It seems that everytime I see an apostrophe symbol or colon symbol it makes me keep staring at it. Again this has no connection to the heart and what would be the best way to stop staring at these symbols?

I am sorry to hear that your OCD is acting up again. Have your medicines been adjusted, or have you missed any doses?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi the medicines have been adjusted slightly but my insurance is not going to pay for Latuda so I am not sure what my psychiatrist is going to do tomorrow? So my heart is not affected by these staring at grammatical symbols because the systems are separate?

NO - your heart is not affected by staring at (or not stopping staring at) anything, including the grammatical symbols.

If you did better on the particular medication, your doctor could try to appeal the decision to deny the non-formulary medication (Latuda). Typically, this would involve calling or faxing information to the insurance company explaining why other medications have not worked for you.