I Feel Anxious
Health anxiety, also called hypochondria, hypochondriasis, or illness anxiety, is a strong fear that you are sick or dying, even though there is no actual reason to believe this.
Do I have Hypochondria?
Everyone has their health scares now and then. But for a person with hypochondria, this sensation becomes prolonged and isn’t based on any reasonable evidence of being ill.
Symptoms of health anxiety include:
- Interpreting normal bodily functions and feelings as signs of illness
- Worrying a great deal about developing a medical condition
- Making frequent visits to your doctor to check ‘symptoms’ you’ve detected
- Avoiding visiting the doctor, because it’s assumed bad news will be the result
- Obsessively looking up symptoms and possible conditions on the internet or elsewhere
- Constantly examining and diagnosing yourself with a health condition (or multiple conditions)
- Seeking reassurance from others, including medical professionals
- Not believing that you are not sick, even if a doctor or other medical professional tells you that you’re well
If you’ve been experiencing one or more of these symptoms for an extended period of time, you most likely have health anxiety.
What are the Negative Effects of Health Anxiety?
Hypochondria’s negative effects are numerous. For one thing, anyone suffering from it is experiencing an almost constant level of anxiety. Sometimes, that anxiety can even escalate into panic attacks and other symptoms. Some people become so concerned about their health that they literally ‘worry themselves sick’, convincing themselves that they have symptoms and health conditions that they do not actually have. This can lead to unnecessary medical visits and expenses, missed days at school or work, and even shutting themselves away from the world.
What’s more, a person with hypochondria’s state of constant anxiety and fear can actually result in symptoms like chronic fatigue, low libido, numbness in certain parts of the body, and depression.
What causes hypochondria?
There are several causes of hypochondria:
Stress, including stress related to the illness or death of a loved one.
Childhood experiences. For example, perhaps you had a parent who was always extremely concerned about your health.
Prior experience with a serious illness. This may have caused you to be more attuned to anything that could be perceived as a symptom.
Depression. Just as hypochondria can cause depression in some people, in others, it may be a symptom of depression.
Inability to correctly interpret normal bodily functions. Some people with hypochondria will perceive features or feelings most of us typically ignore, as signs of serious illness.
Anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder. People suffering from these conditions often experience health anxiety as well.
Tendency towards anxiety. People who are naturally more anxious than the average may become overly worried about their health, as well.
How to cure hypochondria?
Hypochondria doesn’t equal hopelessness. There are many treatment options that can help you overcome it. At Transformational Therapy we use a variety of techniques and therapies that will help you understand and circumvent the unhelpful messages you’ve been giving yourself about your health, your mental state – and your life.
You're here to live fully, so do what you need to do, to kick those anxieties aside, and move on. Call 0409777116 for more information or to book your confidential consultation.