Health & Wellness
How to Identify and Overcome Health Anxiety
Health Anxiety or Hypochondria is a Mental Condition in which the Human Body misinterprets brain signals and regards normal bodily sensations as “Harmful”.
When suffering from this condition, people will worry obsessively that they’re weak or rather perceive it when the body is all good and well.
It’s a serious disease that, if untreated, can lead to other more severe forms of mental illnesses like Depression and Stress which will cause harm to the body.
Because your brain isn’t performing correctly and isn’t perceiving bodily functions normally, Health Anxiety can also weaken your immune system, making you vulnerable to diseases and infections.
According to the “Anxiety and Depression Association of America”, Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental illness in the USA, and it affects 40 million adults in the USA around 18 years of age and older. In total, it affects about 18.1% of the Total Population.
The good news is that this Disorder is “Highly Treatable”, but it mostly depends on when the disorder is diagnosed and if the patient receives the right amount of treatment or not.
Here are some ways you can Identify whether you’re suffering from Health Anxiety and How you can Overcome it.
How to Identify Health Anxiety // Symptoms
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)” Health Anxiety or Hypochondriasis is no longer considered a “Diagnosis” but rather refers to it as “Illness Anxiety Disorder”.
The fear of having a disease and the worry stemming from that perceived disease is the biggest symptom of Health Anxiety, but it’s not the only one.
Here are some Symptoms that are generally seen in patients suffering from Health Anxiety:
- Perceived Diseases: People suffering from Hypochondriasis constantly obsess over them suffering a serious disease.
- Miss Doctor Appointments: Because of the fear of getting diagnosed with something serious, patients will miss their appointments as well
- Headaches and Rapid Heart Rate: The constant worrying means that the stress these patients endure will cause regular headaches and will occasionally cause a rapid heart rate as well
- Getting Tested Repeatedly: In some cases, these patients will get their body tested for various diseases over and over again, the fear once again stemming from Health Anxiety.
How to Treat Health Anxiety?
Most of the treatments for Health Anxiety revolve around the mental aspect of it all, with special focus done on improving mental health so that the brain can interpret signals from the body correctly.
“Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” (CBT) is the most widely used method to treat Hypochondria. It’s a form of psychological treatment that has proven to be quite effective against mental disorders like Anxiety, Depression, Stress, etc.
This therapy can be done individually or in group sessions. Particular emphasis is put on the user’s thoughts, feelings and how they are interconnected to our sensations and actions. Through realizing these emotions, the therapy aims to reflect the bad effects of Negative Emotions and how the user can get caught in a severe rabbit hole of disorders.
If Therapy isn’t the route you want to take, there are Medications out there that do the trick. Antidepressants are crucial in treating Health Anxiety and a lot of these include good levels of “Serotonin” – which is a Hormone that stabilizes our mood, our feelings and emotions.
Do note that Medications do have certain side effects that some people might struggle dealing with. A consultation with a Licensed Practitioner is always recommended.
Road to Recovery
Recovery from Health Anxiety is a long and arduous effect that requires a long-term commitment. It’s really important that people suffering from the Disorder have the support they need from their Family and Friends.
It’s also quite important they have a Healthy Balance of Diet and Exercise. Our brain needs exercise to stay in the best condition and both our Fitness and Diet are directly related to that growth. To make sure it gets the Juice it needs to work best, we need to ensure we have an Active Lifestyle.
Stress increases with Age, especially more so in people who have underlying mental conditions. In this case, we need to ensure that such people are provided with the right Emotional Support to get over the line. It is to be noted that with Proper and Effective Treatment, people with the Disorder will overcome it.
The Best Advice we can give you is to keep your Mind Occupied and keep regular Anxiety to a minimum. That will improve how your body functions and make sure that the Anxiety finds no holes to creep into your day-to-day activities and ruin it.