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Mental Health Care for Extreme Health Anxiety
The effects of this condition could vary among people. Some people may focus on one particular organ, such as the heart, or a disease like cancer. Or, they may fear all of them. A person with such extreme stress about their health might be unable to focus on work and skip meals. Such conditions can be very intrusive and complicate daily life, not just for the patient but for their loved ones too. Fortunately, there are effective remedy alternatives, such as therapy and medication.
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A Quick Overview
Health anxiety, also known as hypochondria, is a psychological ailment in which a person may fear having a disease or becoming seriously ill. The individual may have no symptoms but might misinterpret normal feelings and minor signs as evidence of severe sickness. On the other hand, some may imagine signs of the disorder. They can be obsessively worried about their well-being despite reassurance from medical professionals.
The actual cause of this disorder is yet unknown. But experts believe that chronic emotional stress, underlying mental conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder, or the death of a loved one may cause the development of such disorders. If the parents are hyper-concerned about diseases and overreact to minor ailments such as colds, then children might mimic this behavior. Because of the availability of the internet, people can self-diagnose by reading articles online. They might search for signs, start jotting down every possible condition, and then ask their doctors for advanced investigation. It might not create this disorder, but it can exacerbate the signs of people with this disease. The number of such incidents is increasing. If one doctor says that the patient has no physical ailment, the unhappy patient may go to another one.
Key signs that you might have this condition include:
Scared of normal bodily functions: You may perceive normal functions of the body, such as heartbeats, sweating, and bowel movements, as an ailment or condition. Even a little back pain might set you off.
Visiting various doctors: You may make frequent visits to various doctors. You may see them because you think you have a disease and want to treat it. But you may go to a different doctor because the present doctor does not think you have any issues. It is a common sign of anxiousness for your well-being.
Minor conditions can cause anxiety: Insignificant conditions such as a runny nose, a common cold, slightly swollen lymph nodes, or a sore throat might make you anxious.
Surveillance: You might frequently examine your body for signs of disorders.
Not satisfied with the diagnosis: If the diagnostic tests are negative, you may not find relief. It can exacerbate your anxieties that no one believes you and that the condition will never get evaluated and treated.
The talk is about diseases at all times: The person with this condition may be constantly scared and worried about being diagnosed with ailments. As a result, they may obsessively try to research and gain knowledge about various diseases. Thus it could become the only thing they want to discuss.
Addicted to the Internet: You spend a lot of time online looking for possible disease indicators.
Avoiding the doctor: You may avoid seeking medical assistance, such as regular checkups. This could be because you might be scared of being diagnosed with a severe condition.
Isolation: You may avoid people, places, and activities that you believe may harm your well-being.
Risk factors may include:
Age: This disorder can develop at any age, and symptoms may come and go. However, it may first appear in early to middle adulthood, around age 25 to 35. It may get worse with age.
Stress: A major traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one or if they suffer from a chronic ailment, can cause or worsen an anxiety disorder.
Other mental health conditions: You may acquire this disorder if you have another mental sickness, such as depression or psychotic disorders. The presence of a significant symptom, such as chest discomfort that you may believe is life-threatening, may raise the likelihood of developing this condition.
Childhood Trauma: A history of physical, sexual, or emotional child abuse or neglect appears to be a risk factor for many mental disorders, including this one. If you were seriously ill or had a severe condition as a child, that may also cause this disorder.
Personal and Family Health History: Having a first-degree relative with the said ailment may increase your chances of having the ailment. It is considered that some of this is due to observational learning, which involves children seeing, memorizing, and replicating the behaviors of close adults.
Poor experience with healthcare providers or hospitals: A personal or familial experience with the healthcare system results in diminished trust or confidence in healthcare or healthcare providers. People who have had bad experiences regarding their well-being in the past may be more prone to developing a disproportionate fear of growing ill again.
How to Deal With Your Symptoms
Medication and psychotherapy are used to treat this condition. The end goal of the cure is to allow the patient to live a happy life and cope with the markers, even if they may be unable to cure and get rid of their fear.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT): CBT is a method of psychotherapy that teaches people how to recognize negative, harmful, and dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors. Once these problematic ideas and actions are found, CBT entails ways to transform them into constructive ones. It may help reduce stress and prevent maladaptive behaviors such as body checking and visiting multiple doctors for a diagnosis.
Medication: Some people may not respond to psychotherapy, and the doctor may recommend medications. This disorder may usually be treated with antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Medication used to treat mood or anxiety disorders may be beneficial.
Coping Strategies: There are some tips and tricks that may help alleviate the indicators. Some of them are:
Avoid checking for indications and diseases online.
Participate in more hobbies, so you focus less on your body.
Practice meditation, yoga, and relaxation exercises.
Distract your mind from urges to check your body or search for signs online by doing activities you like, such as dancing.
Sleep well and follow a healthy diet.
Get Treatment From a Licensed Therapist Who’s Right For You
Living with anxiety is tough, let alone with extreme illness anxiety. While therapy can help you overcome your fears and live a better life, first, you may need to find a good therapist. The outcome of treatment and counseling may depend highly on the nature and experience of the therapist. Another critical factor is that you feel comfortable and safe with them. The dynamics between you and your therapist may affect the effectiveness of the treatment. No need to worry! Docvita is here at your service. All the therapists working with DocVita have years of experience in different specialties and are compassionate.
Schedule a Virtual Psychotherapy Appointment with a Counsellor Today
Health anxiety is a chronic medical issue that can worsen over time. It appears to worsen with age or during times of stress. However, if you seek help and stick to your treatment plan, you can lessen your signs and enhance your daily functioning while reducing your fears. If you have or suspect you have illness anxiety, the best first step may often be to schedule an appointment with a therapist or psychologist. Find an expert therapist with years of experience dealing with this condition and instantly make an appointment. Book a therapy session with Docvita.