What Is Health Anxiety?
Health anxiety refers to an obsessive and continuous worry over one’s health. A common characteristic of a person with health anxiety is developing negative thoughts over their health. The preoccupation by the patient persists even after visiting a doctor. It can take a toll on a person and cause distress. The individual will develop an irrational conclusion about any bodily changes. The person will mistake normal bodily functions for symptoms of any ailment. Most individuals continue worrying over their health even after regular checkups.
How Is Health Anxiety Different From Normal Health Concerns?
A natural way of dealing with symptoms of a disease is consulting a medical practitioner. The case is way different from a person with health anxiety. The person tends to overthink the basic symptoms of significant health complications. The overthinking does not end even after verified medical tests from a health professional are given.
The condition tends to affect how the patient copes with their daily activities. The person starts to become irritating both to their family and friends. They lose the inability to make meaningful relationships. Furthermore, they become victims of anxiety and depression.
What Leads People to Health Anxiety?There is no universal cause of health anxiety. Health professionals have come up with three major factors that could result in the condition.
Vulnerability FactorsIt refers to activities that make one open to developing signs of health anxiety. Some causes that result in such condition include:
- - Genetics – some people are predisposed to specific genes that lead to the buildup of emotional tendencies when reacting to different things. However, research is yet to identify a particular gene known to develop the condition in an individual.
- - Personal traits – some people have traits that leave them open to experiencing health anxiety. Some common characteristics by people include high tendencies to worry about the inability to tolerate changes.
- - Life experiences – psychology draws a close relationship between life experiences and how they shape our belief system. Previous experiences with one’s health can cause constant worries over their overall health, leading to this condition.
Triggering FactorsSome individuals tend to have underlying health complications that can be used, such as a condition including stress, long-term illnesses or death experiences.
What Makes Anxiety Over Health Persist?Health anxiety tends to keep growing if one cannot break away from the maintenance cycle. Here are key factors that play a role in persistence.
Focus on Bodily ChangesHow do you overcome health anxiety? Most people pay less attention when it comes to changes in their bodies. It is quite different for people with the condition as they tend to obsess with any bodily sensation. Having the full attention of your physical changes can impact how you react to them. The more engagement you give to a body sensation, the more it amplifies. It gets amplified to the extent that you start feeling the full extent of it. It often leads to a vicious circle that breaks down to depression. It becomes easy for a person with this state to amplify it with any changes in their health.
Irrational Belief SystemOne’s belief system plays a significant role in dictating the impact of the mental condition. Some common signs of irrational thinking include the following ones.
- - Having intrusive thoughts and images that often lead to depression.
- - Repetitive worry patterns impact the way one reacts to sudden changes in his/her body.
- - Having amplified or irrational symptoms related to a particular disease. It makes it hard for a person to think straight. People exhibiting signs of anxiety tend to overestimate the chances of having symptoms for severe illness. Furthermore, they downplay their coping skills with a particular illness.
- - People tend to get uncomfortable with uncertainties regarding their health conditions. The individual can develop actions that can amplify the threat of the uncertainty that may prolong the illness.
What Is the Diagnosis of Health Anxiety?The American Psychological Association does not list health anxiety anymore. It was previously diagnosed as hypochondria. Currently, individuals are categorized into:
- - Illness anxiety disorder refers to when a person does not demonstrate any symptoms, both physical or mild;
- - Somatic syndrome disorder refers to when a person showcases symptoms that result in depression or illustrating multiple symptoms.
- - Going through a psych evaluation that involves various questions relating to your symptoms, worries, family situation, stressful occurrences, and other related issues are affecting your life;
- - Questioning about your alcohol or drug addiction;
- - Performing a self-assessment.
What Helps With Health Anxiety?Different techniques help in soothing the symptoms shown by the condition. A psychologist is the best help for your case. However, you can try some personal help care tips before visiting a psychologist. The most recommended self-care help tips include the following.
Safety Behaviors & Health Anxiety Self-HelpWhen you have certain things causing you uneasy moments, it will help when you avoid thinking about them. You have the power to control how things in your world happen. It is a similar strategy that people exhibiting such states tend to follow, leading to anxiety feelings. It is imperative to avoid stimulants that cause different body sensations.
Safety behaviors refer to activities that help put control over your anxiety levels when facing a triggering factor. It will help in producing a calming feeling to the person suffering from anxiety.
How Long Can Health Anxiety Symptoms Last?Normal anxiety by a person can last up to six months. It is natural to worry about being sick or having a severe medical condition. Any changes in your health should raise concern. However, if the worry persists for over six months, it can signify health anxiety. Most victims of health anxiety will make numerous doctor appointments. Other people tend to avoid seeking help from professionals with the fear of finding out the state of the fatal disease.
What Is Severe Health Anxiety?It refers to an obsessive worry over one’s health status without a major underlying medical state. The condition makes the victim obsess over their mental condition. It is common to find the patient worrying over physical signs for the illness. Severe health anxiety follows with increased symptoms for the person.
Psychotherapy for Health Anxiety TreatmentThere are two common types of psychotherapy help used in the help treatment of health anxiety among people.
CBT for Health AnxietyCBT refers to an approach highly advocated for using recent research as the first help treatment choice for anxiety. The therapy process will help to identify negative thought patterns and behaviors that influence a person’s actions. The psychologist will help the patient develop a positive and healthy mindset that improves the quality of life. Furthermore, the therapy will help in enhancing the positive thinking of the individual. CBT plays an integral role in helping the patient overcome irrational fears while changing problematic behaviors in their lives. A new and healthy mindset will help the individual approach a stressful situation correctly without triggering their anxiety. Furthermore, the patient can learn how to keep up and live with anxiety in a manageable manner.
Acceptance and Commitment TherapyACT refers to another psychotherapy approach that uses recent research to treat anxiety illnesses shown by a person. It does not hold the same efficacy as CBT, but it can prove a useful tool for different people. It uses a mindfulness technique that helps people accept different feelings of stress. It forms a coping strategy to assist in keeping up with stress.
MedicationOne proven technique on how to stop health anxiety is through medication. In case of severe anxiety, a psychologist might prescribe some anti-depressants to keep the symptoms at bay. These medications help in increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. The chemical compound serotonin will help in controlling how a person feels.
The main goal of both therapy and medication is to eliminate any concerns related to the medical condition. However, it will also help in making the people cope with the symptoms. It will help the individual resume with their daily lives when the anxiety is managed correctly. It is highly recommended that patients go for a scheduled appointment with medical professionals to help seek the problem’s root.
When to Call for Health Anxiety Help?When battling with recurrent anxiety or worries over your status for more than a week, it is time to call online professionals for help. Once you feel like you have lost control over your feelings, you need a higher help. The therapist will step in to help you cope with the uncontrolled emotions you feel. Without a help treatment plan to help you, the condition will affect your relationships.
Anxiety will interrupt your life and your daily activities. It can lead to sleep insomnia with difficulties in concentration. It is essential to call in a professional to help you through the recovery process.
At DrMental company website, you can find a directory of therapists that offer services at an affordable price. The outcomes prove how work with a good counselor and counseling can help solve your health anxiety. The website will help you find numerous therapists with psychology tools for health anxiety at an affordable cost. With proper help and treatment from a top online therapist at affordable pricing, the outcomes show improvement in three weeks for over 50% of individuals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Health Anxiety Ever Go Away?
The diagnosis of anxiety might take several months, where the individual displays various symptoms. However, if the patient does not seek a help treatment plan, the condition might never go away. A help treatment plan is one way of how to get over health anxiety. It might last even years for the individual. The person will continue suffering the long term effects of the symptoms.
Are There Physical Symptoms for Health Anxiety?
Yes. Some common physical symptoms related to anxiety include:
- Chest pressure;
- Muscle tension;
- The tingling sensation from head to toe;
- Rapid heartbeat;
- Stomach aches;
The symptoms worsen the situation for the individual. It might be something amiss, but it could also mean your anxiety is on another level.
Approaches on How to Overcome Health Anxiety
The main help treatment plan for anxiety focuses mainly on the improvement of the symptoms. The primary treatment help plans for the condition include a form of psychotherapy and medication.