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Hypochondria (Health Anxiety): Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Hypochondria (or Health Anxiety, or Illness Anxiety Disorder, or Hypochondriasis)

Do you have a fear of diseases?

Have you ever thought a simple headache to be brain tumor, or a slight stomach ache as an intestinal blockage?

Have people ever called you crazy because of your obsession with health and hygiene?

Are you gripped by a constant fear of being terminally ill?

Have you ever self-diagnosed yourself by checking the symptoms online?

Are you aware of symptoms of various diseases because you constantly look them up online?

Do you keep getting tests done, (often by different doctors)?

Is no re-assurance enough to prove that you are not sick. You know that, but are never satisfied. Is that you?

If the answer to most of these questions is yes, you probably are a hypochondriac.

What is Hypochondria: The Symptoms

Hypochondria (Health Anxiety) describes intense and constant worry about your health. And this worry causes much distress and harms one’s ability to function properly.

People suffering from Hypochondria (hypochondriac) strongly believe that they are suffering from serious illness outside of a professional opinion. It is often accompanied by OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), stress and anxiety.

What if I have cancer?

What if this symptom leads to something deadly?

Is this a sign of heart disease?

People with Health Anxiety often associate symptoms like headaches, swollen lymph nodes, tiredness, etc. to serious illnesses by way of self-diagnosis. No matter how infinitely small the chance of having an actual serious illness is to that symptom, a hypochondriac will feel as if they are the exception. They will ask themselves questions like the ones on the right.

Hypochondria Causes

Finding an exact cause to Hypochondria because it really does vary from person to person. Its subjectivity can be pin-pointed to common causes though. Some of these include:
  • Stressful period in life such as the death or illness of a close family member or friend
  • Personality; some people worry more than others or are over-thinkers
  • Depression
  • A general Anxiety Disorder

Why is Hypochondria/Health Anxiety dangerous?

This question leads to the root of why hypochondria can be detrimental to overall mental health. It is what many consider a vicious circle in the sense that once you start to worry, you’ll be prompted into a state of depression or anxiety. It will make you self-check every square inch of your body until you find the slightest bump or abnormality. Once this abnormality is found, you’ll add it onto any other symptoms you may already have in your mind.

You’ll begin consulting your doctor or doctors on a regular basis until you reach the point where you no longer believe them because your research has told you otherwise. You do things like constantly searching up symptoms on Google until you read the words ‘cancer’ or ‘heart disease’.

Hypochondria Treatment

The goal of treatment for health anxiety is to improve the sufferers' symptoms and ability to function in daily life. Typically, treatment involves psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy) and medications when required.

Different Anxiety Relaxation Techniques have a positive effect on the body and mind if you suffer from Hypochondria (Health Anxiety).

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