Health Anxiety

Join the Conversation on
Health Anxiety
2.2K people
0 stories
198 posts
Explore Our Newsletters
What's New in Health Anxiety
All
Stories
Posts
Videos
Latest
Trending
Post
See full photo

Health Anxiety

#HealthAnxiety #Anxiety

Health anxiety is an obsessive and irrational worry about having a serious medical condition. It’s also called illness anxiety, and was formerly called hypochondria. This condition is marked by a person’s imagination of physical symptoms of illness.

Or in other cases, it’s a person’s misinterpretation of minor or normal body sensations as serious disease symptoms despite reassurance by medical professionals that they don’t have an illness.

Illness anxiety disorder, sometimes called hypochondriasis or health anxiety, is worrying excessively that you are or may become seriously ill. You may have no physical symptoms. Or you may believe that normal body sensations or minor symptoms are signs of severe illness, even though a thorough medical exam doesn't reveal a serious medical condition.

You may experience extreme anxiety that body sensations, such as muscle twitching or fatigue, are associated with a specific, serious illness. This excessive anxiety — rather than the physical symptom itself — results in severe distress that can disrupt your life.

Illness anxiety disorder is a long-term condition that can fluctuate in severity. It may increase with age or during times of stress. But psychological counseling (psychotherapy) and sometimes medication can help ease your worries.

You can refer to this:

resiliens.com/resilify/program/dealing-with-health-anxiety

Dealing with Health Anxiety | Blog

A platform built on evidence-based principles, delivered by licensed clinicians, coaches making care accessible, effective and scalable.
1 reaction
Post
See full photo

Health anxiety cycle

#Anxiety #HealthAnxiety

In social anxiety and panic there are overlaps between anxiety, reassurance- and safety-seeking behaviors. So, someone with a fear of incontinence linked to panic may wish to reassure themselves by always knowing the location of toilets, and may recurrently empty their bladder even when not needed. In panic, self-checking can occur for flushing, heart rate, breathing, sweatiness and tremor. The checking itself exacerbates symptoms.

Obsessive–compulsive disorder behaviors such as counting, checking or cleaning occur as a form of self-reassurance that the feared consequence can be avoided or minimised. Excessive reassurance-seeking can be covert and hidden (counting/praying) as well as overt such as recurrently asking others for reassurance that the feared consequence has not occurred.

In health anxiety and dysmorphophobia, the focus of anxiety is inward-looking (with body-checking, mirror-gazing) or overt (with opinion-seeking from others). Diaries of physiological measures such as blood pressure, temperature and heart rate may be brought to professionals, as well as requests for examination (e.g. ‘Has this lump changed?’) or other similar reassurance-seeking comments (e.g. ‘Do I look pale?’).

In depression, similar to social anxiety, the focus is often on checking doubts that others judge the person negatively and on personal performance. Individuals seek opinions from others to check views of themselves, their work or performance.

Excessive reassurance-seeking is addressed with exposure and response prevention. This involves repeatedly facing the fear and choosing not to seek reassurance (i.e. not to check, measure, ask, review, do). Exposure can be paced to slowly and purposively help the person reduce the reassurance-seeking. Anxiety levels will eventually fall and the individual learns that reassurance-seeking is not needed to reduce anxiety, the feared outcome does not occur and that they have power over their thoughts and actions.

You can refer to this:

resiliens.com/resilify/program/dealing-with-health-anxiety

Dealing with Health Anxiety | Blog

A platform built on evidence-based principles, delivered by licensed clinicians, coaches making care accessible, effective and scalable.
4 reactions
Post
See full photo

Tips for overcoming anxiety

#Anxiety #HealthAnxiety

There are different ways that you may be able to overcome anxiety in order to enjoy better emotional wellness. The following are some strategies you might try to include.

Acceptance

One way to overcome anxiety is to learn to accept that not every intrusive thought is signaling a legitimate reason to worry. Simply put, not every thought is true. So it's often unhelpful to try to disprove the beliefs.

Try an acceptance-based approach instead, which includes:

-Identifying the thought

-Labeling it ("worry" or "judgment," for example)

-Being aware of the moment when the thought comes up

-Being aware of the moment when the thought begins to recede from awareness

Questioning

Cognitive restructuring is another strategy that can help you change the way you perceive situations and lessen your anxiety. This technique is a cornerstone of a treatment approach called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Cognitive restructuring offers a way to critically evaluate potentially distorted thoughts, like "He’s definitely going to break up with me." You ask a series of questions about the belief that can encourage a more balanced view.

For instance, "He's definitely going to break up with me," might turn into a more realistic belief such as, "Just because we had a small argument doesn't mean our relationship will end."

Exposure

The basic concept of exposure is to lean into anxiety by confronting, rather than avoiding, anxiety-provoking situations to learn by experience. You learn that nothing terrible will happen, or that bad outcomes are manageable (and might even have an upside).

For instance, an exposure exercise could be intentionally disagreeing with a boyfriend or imagining what it would be like to get into a major argument. Repetition helps with exposure, so repeating an exposure until it all becomes more boring than anxiety-provoking can be important.

The response prevention component would be to do these things and not ask whether or not your boyfriend is mad, so as to learn to live with uncertainty. While the cycle of anxiety is often vicious, breaking even one link can go a long way to diminishing worry and the anxiety to which it leads.

Nutrition

Research shows that anxiety levels can be impacted by the kinds of foods and drinks you consume. One study observed that participants who consumed more saturated fats and added sugars had higher anxiety levels than those who consumed fewer fats and less sugar.

Eating fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and high-fiber foods—while limiting processed foods—is connected with improving mood and making it easier to manage psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression.

Caffeine can also increase your anxiety levels. If you drink more than one cup of coffee per day, try scaling back or eliminate it altogether and note whether your anxiety improves. Caffeine is also in many teas, beverages, and foods (like chocolate) so make sure to read nutrition labels to monitor how much you're consuming.

Physical Exercise

Find a way to move your body that feels good—it doesn't have to be a long and arduous workout. Taking a walk for even 10 minutes can help improve your mood.

Exercise can improve your concentration, your sleep, and lower your stress levels. Many doctors advise physical exercise alongside therapy and/or medication for people with anxiety and depression.

You can refer to this:

resiliens.com/resilify/program/dealing-with-health-anxiety

Dealing with Health Anxiety | Blog

A platform built on evidence-based principles, delivered by licensed clinicians, coaches making care accessible, effective and scalable.
Post
See full photo

What causes people to develop health anxiety

#Anxiety #HealthAnxiety

Experts aren’t sure of the exact causes of health anxiety, but they think the following factors may be involved:

-You have a poor understanding of body sensations, diseases, or both of these things. You may think that a serious disease is causing your body’s sensations. This leads you to look for evidence that confirms that you actually have a serious disease.

-You have a family member or members who worried excessively about their health or your health.

-You’ve had past experiences dealing with real serious illness in childhood. So as an adult, the physical sensations you experience are frightening to you.

Health anxiety most often occurs in early or middle adulthood and can worsen with age. For older people, health anxiety may focus on a fear of developing memory problems. Other risk factors for health anxiety include:

-a stressful event or situation

-the possibility of a serious illness that turns out to not be serious

-being abused as a child

-having had a serious childhood illness or a parent with a serious illness

-having a worrying personality

-excessively checking your health on the internet

You can refer to this:

resiliens.com/resilify/program/dealing-with-health-anxiety

Dealing with Health Anxiety | Blog

A platform built on evidence-based principles, delivered by licensed clinicians, coaches making care accessible, effective and scalable.
2 reactions
Post
See full photo

Health anxiety

#Anxiety #HealthAnxiety

Health anxiety is an obsessive and irrational worry about having a serious medical condition. It’s also called illness anxiety, and was formerly called hypochondria. This condition is marked by a person’s imagination of physical symptoms of illness.

Or in other cases, it’s a person’s misinterpretation of minor or normal body sensations as serious disease symptoms despite reassurance by medical professionals that they don’t have an illness.

Health anxiety is no longer included in the American Psychological Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It was previously called hypochondriasis (better known as hypochondria).

If your body is sending you signs that you’re ill, it’s normal to be concerned. Health anxiety is marked by constant belief that you have a symptom or symptoms of a severe illness. You may become so consumed by worry that the distress becomes disabling.

If you’re concerned about your health, the rational thing to do is see your doctor. With health anxiety, you’ll feel extreme distress about your real or imagined symptoms even after medical test results come back negative and doctors reassure you that you’re healthy.

You can refer to this:

resiliens.com/resilify/program/dealing-with-health-anxiety

3 reactions
Post
See full photo

Health anxiety cycle

#Anxiety #HealthAnxiety

A vicious cycle develops of noticing a sensation or learning of an illness in the world, misinterpreting it as threatening, then becoming anxious, and finally going to the doctor for reassurance. Reassurance from the doctor reduces the anxiety and brings relief temporarily. Soon the cycle starts again.

SENSATIONS : Any physical symptoms you’re experiencing such as muscle spasms, shortness of breath, lumps you hadn’t previously noticed, and headaches. What could they be?

PERCEPTION : The sensation you’re experiencing being somehow different to others. For example, the headache or muscle spasm lasting too long to be “normal.”

UNCERTAINTY : Asking yourself why with no resolution. Why do you have a headache when you’ve just woken up? Why has your eye been twitching for days?

AROUSAL : Coming to the conclusion that the symptom must, therefore, be the result of a serious illness. For example: If my headache has lasted for a couple of hours and I’ve avoided my phone screen and it’s still there, I must have an aneurysm.

CHECKING : At this point, you’re so aware of the symptom you need to keep checking if it’s there. You’re hyper-focused. For a headache, this could mean putting pressure on your temples or rubbing your eyes too hard. This then exacerbates the symptoms you were worried about in the first place and you’re back to square one.

You can refer to this:

resiliens.com/resilify/program/dealing-with-health-anxiety

Dealing with Health Anxiety | Blog

A platform built on evidence-based principles, delivered by licensed clinicians, coaches making care accessible, effective and scalable.
2 reactions
Post
See full photo

How to health anxiety diagnosed?

#Anxiety #HealthAnxiety

Health anxiety is when you spend so much time worrying you're ill, or about getting ill, that it starts to take over your life. It's related to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Health anxiety is an obsessive and irrational worry about having a serious medical condition. It’s also called illness anxiety, and was formerly called hypochondria. This condition is marked by a person’s imagination of physical symptoms of illness.

Or in other cases, it’s a person’s misinterpretation of minor or normal body sensations as serious disease symptoms despite reassurance by medical professionals that they don’t have an illness.

Health anxiety is no longer included in the American Psychological Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It was previously called hypochondriasis (better known as hypochondria).

Now, people who had been diagnosed with hypochondria might instead be classified as having:

illness anxiety disorder, if the person has no physical symptoms or only mild symptoms

somatic symptom disorder, particularly when the person has symptoms that are perceived as distressing to them or if they have multiple symptoms

You can refer to this:

resiliens.com/resilify/program/dealing-with-health-anxiety

3 reactions
Post
See full photo

Health Anxiety

#HealthAnxiety

Health anxiety is an obsessive and irrational worry about having a serious medical condition. It’s also called illness anxiety, and was formerly called hypochondria. This condition is marked by a person’s imagination of physical symptoms of illness.

Or in other cases, it’s a person’s misinterpretation of minor or normal body sensations as serious disease symptoms despite reassurance by medical professionals that they don’t have an illness.

Illness anxiety disorder, sometimes called hypochondriasis or health anxiety, is worrying excessively that you are or may become seriously ill. You may have no physical symptoms. Or you may believe that normal body sensations or minor symptoms are signs of severe illness, even though a thorough medical exam doesn't reveal a serious medical condition.

You may experience extreme anxiety that body sensations, such as muscle twitching or fatigue, are associated with a specific, serious illness. This excessive anxiety — rather than the physical symptom itself — results in severe distress that can disrupt your life.

Illness anxiety disorder is a long-term condition that can fluctuate in severity. It may increase with age or during times of stress. But psychological counseling (psychotherapy) and sometimes medication can help ease your worries.

You can refer to this:

resiliens.com/resilify/program/dealing-with-health-anxiety

2 reactions
Post
See full photo

Tips for overcoming anxiety

#HealthAnxiety

There are different ways that you may be able to overcome anxiety in order to enjoy better emotional wellness. The following are some strategies you might try to include.

Acceptance

One way to overcome anxiety is to learn to accept that not every intrusive thought is signaling a legitimate reason to worry. Simply put, not every thought is true. So it's often unhelpful to try to disprove the beliefs.

Try an acceptance-based approach instead, which includes:

-Identifying the thought

-Labeling it ("worry" or "judgment," for example)

-Being aware of the moment when the thought comes up

-Being aware of the moment when the thought begins to recede from awareness

An acceptance-based approach means that you observe the thought you're having without the urgency you might normally feel to address it, fix it, argue with it, or believe it. You are letting it come and go without focusing on it.

Questioning

Cognitive restructuring is another strategy that can help you change the way you perceive situations and lessen your anxiety. This technique is a cornerstone of a treatment approach called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Cognitive restructuring offers a way to critically evaluate potentially distorted thoughts, like "He’s definitely going to break up with me." You ask a series of questions about the belief that can encourage a more balanced view.

For instance, "He's definitely going to break up with me," might turn into a more realistic belief such as, "Just because we had a small argument doesn't mean our relationship will end."

Exposure

The basic concept of exposure is to lean into anxiety by confronting, rather than avoiding, anxiety-provoking situations to learn by experience. You learn that nothing terrible will happen, or that bad outcomes are manageable (and might even have an upside).

For instance, an exposure exercise could be intentionally disagreeing with a boyfriend or imagining what it would be like to get into a major argument. Repetition helps with exposure, so repeating an exposure until it all becomes more boring than anxiety-provoking can be important.

Nutrition

Research shows that anxiety levels can be impacted by the kinds of foods and drinks you consume. One study observed that participants who consumed more saturated fats and added sugars had higher anxiety levels than those who consumed fewer fats and less sugar.

Eating fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and high-fiber foods—while limiting processed foods—is connected with improving mood and making it easier to manage psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression.

Physical Exercise

Find a way to move your body that feels good—it doesn't have to be a long and arduous workout. Taking a walk for even 10 minutes can help improve your mood.

You can refer to this:

resiliens.com/resilify/program/dealing-with-health-anxiety

6 reactions