A hypochondriac is a person who is excessively anxious about his health. If you believe that even minor symptoms are signs of grave illnesses despite a medical exam indicating that all is hunky dory, then, chances are that you have hypochondria!
Hypochondria is an illness- anxiety disorder. It is a chronic condition that is more common among older people or in those who are stressed, and comes with varied severity. It is usually evident in those who have a medical condition or in those who are at a higher risk of developing one. These individuals perceive each symptom with far more seriousness than it deserves. This excessive anxiety is a lot more distressing than the physical symptoms of the disease.
If you are a hypochondriac, you will be preoccupied with your health. Even slight signs on your body such as a rash or a slight pain will worry you no end! You will also be looking out for signs on your body and will be searching the internet, high and low, for explanations to your anxious queries. You will have the habit of talking to others about your illness and you may even reach a point of obsessession that your normal life will be affected.
What makes you a hypochondriac? You may become one due to your poor understanding or wrong belief regarding an illness. Having parents who are obsessed with their health is another reason for children to grow the same way. A past experience such as abuse as a child or an illness in a loved one or self can make you a hypochondriac. Stress is another reason. Also, hypochondria can be easily triggered in those who are already affected by a mental disorder.
If the anxiety levels peak it’s better to get medical help. The doctor will evaluate your condition, which is the basis of your anxiety, and will provide basic help, if necessary. If there is no physical health crisis, you will be referred to a Psychologist who will be able to reassure you through counselling or refer you to a Psychiatrist.
The most effective treatment for hypochondria is a form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavior psychotherapy. It is also known as talk therapy. It is a form of treatment where the person learns to identify fears and learns skills to cope with problems. You will learn new ways to respond to anxiety and fear, improve your ability to deal with daily activities and social engagements. If necessary, you may be treated with anxiety medications or antidepressants to counter anxiety and depression.
Besides all of the above, it is important for you to be consciously involved in dealing with your fears. Co-operate with your healthcare provider and practice all the stress management and relaxation techniques that is suggested. Also, make sure that you stay active in order to avoid negative thoughts . Most important of all, stop treating the internet as the panacea to all your pain.
Stay away from the World Wide Web and watch your worries wane away!