Hypochondriasis



*+Hypochondriac+Convention.pngWhat is hypochondriasis?

An excessive worry or preoccupation about having a serious illness. A Hypochondriac will become alarmed by any symptoms that they detect, no matter how minor, and will convince themselves that they are ill.







Symptoms and Characteristics

  • Having a long-term intense fear or anxiety about having a serious disease or health condition
  • Worrying that minor symptoms or bodily sensations mean you have a serious illness
  • Seeing doctors repeated times or having involved medical exams frequently
  • Frequently switching doctors — if one doctor tells you that you aren't sick, you may not believe it and seek out other opinions
  • Continuously talking about your symptoms or suspected diseases with family and friends
  • Obsessively doing health research
  • Frequently checking your body for problems, such as lumps or sores
  • Frequently checking your vital signs, such as pulse or blood pressure
  • Thinking you have a disease after reading or hearing about it


hypochondriac_kid_hp-thumb-151x151.jpgAffects On Life

Hypochondriacs will become obsessed with the symptoms they detect for six months or longer. Many Hypochondriacs require constant reassurance from friends, family, and physicians; however some keep their feeling inside in constant fear that people won't believe they are ill. Due to this, many individuals suffering from the mental illness also have "white coat syndrome" which causes them to experience elevated blood pressure, anxiety, and stress while in the presence of doctors or while occupying a medical facility.

Connector

Hypochondriasis is detremental when it comes to leading a normal life because individuals are constantly living in fear and worrying or pestering their friends and family with their paranoia.

Treatment

  • Psychological counseling - Psychological counseling (psychotherapy) is the primary treatment for hypochondria. A form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy may be the most effective treatment. Sometimes counseling may include exposure therapy, in which you directly confront your health fears in a safe environment and learn skills to cope with these uncomfortable sensations.
  • Education about hypochondria - Known as psychoeducation, this type of counseling can help you better understand what hypochondria is, why you have it, and how to cope with your health fears.
  • Medications - Certain antidepressant medications may be helpful in treating hypochondria.

Statistics

  • Hypochondriasis can manifest at any age, but usually between the ages of 20 and 30 years
  • Hypochondriasis is more common in men than in women
  • If you suffer a prolonged illness as a child you are more likely to develope Hypochondriasis
  • You have a greater risk of becoming a Hypochondriac if it runs in your family


Word Bank

  • White Coat Syndrome: a phenomenon in which patients exhibit elevated blood pressure in a clinical setting but not in other settings. It is believed that this is due to the anxiety some people experience during a clinic visit
  • Psychotherapy: addressing mental health concerns by talking with a psychologist or other mental health provider.


Web Links