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HYPOCHONDRIASIS

Hypochondriasis is a type of anxiety disorder. If someone
is continuously worried about his/ her health, even if the doctor,
says that everything is fine, it is known as health anxiety, or illness
anxiety disorder, or hypochondriasis.

Hypochondriasis

It is natural for people to worry about their health. But hypochondriacs get extremely worried about their health and feel that they are seriously ill, or are about to suffer from a seriously illness. Such people do not have any symptoms or experience very less symptoms. Even minimal symptoms become a cause of concern for them.

Some people with hypochondria suffer from a medical condition which is usually not that serious, but they fear that they are suffering from a major disease. Other people with hypochondria are healthy, but have an overwhelming fear about their health in the future. For example, they might think: “What if I get cancer?”

Hypochondriacs are affected with a low quality of life and this condition affects their day to day activities.

Causes of hypochondria?

The clear cause why people have hypochondria is unknown, but it is more common in people who:

  • Had stress, illness or a death in the family
  • Had a neglected or abused childhood
  • Suffer from serious physical illness
  • Suffer from serious mental health issue such as anxiety, depression, a compulsive disorder or a psychotic illness
  • People who have a negative outlook towards life

There are some activities which can make a person more prone towards hypochondria:

  • Studying about diseases on the Internet
  • Watching too much TV for diseases
  • If that person knows a person who is suffering from a serious medical condition

What are the symptoms of hypochondria?

 Some common symptoms of hypochondria are:

  • Affected person continuously thinks about suffering from a serious illness
  • Affected person keeps on seeing a doctor, in spite of doctor’s continuous reassurances
  • Keeps on undergoing medical tests
  • Always keep on talking about health with friends and family
  • Spends a lot of time on the internet studying symptoms
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Suffers from with poor relationship with family, at work and society because of concerns about their health.

What is the treatment of hypochondria?

Doctor will look out for physical problems with which a hypochondriac person usually suffers:

  • Gives the affected person advice and teaches self-help techniques
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is done on such patients
  • Refers the person to a counselor or psychiatrist
  • Antidepressants are prescribed to reduce anxiety.
  • Exercise, good diet and family support helps to reduce the symptoms of hypochondria

What are the complications that can happen, if hypochondriasis is left untreated?

Person with hypochondria can have below mentioned possible complications

  • Affected person usually suffers from an affected relationship as the near and dear ones are continuously frustrated with the patient’s talk
  • Affected person in unable to perform well in work place
  • Person is unable to concentrate on daily life activities; hence it can even lead to disability in performing simple tasks
  • Frequent doctor visits and health checkups can cause financial crisis
  • Eventually person suffers from somatic symptom disorder, other anxiety disorders, depression or a personality disorder

How can hypochondria be prevented?

There are some suggestions from doctors which can prevent hypochondria

  • If anyone is suffering from anxiety, it is advisable to seek professional help soon to prevent further complications.
  • Try to manage stress in your Life-Seek help, meditation and exercise can help you relieve from stress.
  • Seek doctor’s advice on a regular basis and stick to your treatment plan to prevent the relapse of hypochondria, in case you are diagnosed with the same

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/illness-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20373782

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9886-illness-anxiety-disorder-beyond-hypochondriasis

http://beyondocd.org/expert-perspectives/articles/hypochondriasis-what-is-it-and-how-do-you-treat-it

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181122/

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hypochondria