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Obsessed with the virus (but with a history of sexual abuse and alcocholism)

Jan 29, 2017

Hi, I thank God for this site, its really amazin and I thank that such people like u exist u r my angels guys. I cnt cope with my mental health due to sexual abuse and drinking and I dont know what to do :/ since this happened Im obsessed with HIV, HCV, HBV and I cant shake it :/ I can see blood everywhere and potential risk :/ I read that u can get those viruses from blood to blood contact n it makes me so scary I dont know if im goin crazy or what but I live in constant tension, anxiety and fear and I cant shake it :/ plzz help me is it really so easy to catch this just from blood to blood contact, yet blood is everywhere n this all makin me goin crazzzzyyyyyy!!!! Help plzz cos' I cnt calm down :/ Sorry for my english im not native speaker Scared Angie

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Hello and thank you for writing. I am sorry to hear that you are in such distress with anxiety about possible infection. Please remember that HIV, HCV, and HBV are relatively difficult to catch unless you engage in very specific risk behaviors: sexual contact or injection drug use (healthcare workers face other concerns). Yes, these viruses are blood-borne but you don't indicate that you engage in these risk activities so my first bit of advice would be to ask you to relax to the greatest extent possible.

There are various techniques for this, including progressive relaxation, breathing techniques, distracting oneself, and of course, seeking professional help.

More important, you describe a history of sexual abuse and drinking and I believe these are at the root of your obsessions and anxiety about catching a virus. Very often our conscious mind isn't capable of feeling the emotions of pain, fear, and anger related to the trauma of abuse. People very often try to numb these feelings with alcohol and drugs(which as you probably know doesn't really help - you just end up with two problems: the feelings related to the trauma as well as an addiction).Whatever anxiety spills over is directed at other things (not the real issue), like catching HIV.

I strongly encourage you to find a mental health care provider that can help you work through these feelings. From what you describe, I believe the issue isn't about fear of catching a virus but a need to address feelings related to your alcoholism and, especially your abuse.

There are techniques that are very effective for addressing trauma although usually therapists will require that a person stops drinking or using drugs before they begin this work.

Please look into resources in your area. There is relief - you just need to reach out.

Wishing you all the best,

David



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