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Health anxiety is more common than you think

Health anxiety is more common than you think

I’m all over the place with my worries. I worry about every freaking thing you can think of. I think I spend more time with my fears and thoughts, than I do with reality. Sometimes it involves thinking about what is wrong with me health-wise. I can get a headache and think I have brain cancer. See Kindergarten Cop (1990).  This is just one of the many “crazy” thoughts that I deal with on a regular basis. It may sound surprising to you, but I visited the emergency room department at least three times last year because I was so convinced I had something other than a mild cold or a headache. I was so anxious to find out what was going on with me because it felt so abnormal and uncomfortable not to be myself. Many of those times when I visited the ER, it was nothing serious at all, but it didn’t stop me from doing it again.

Worrying so much about one’s health like I do, can be classified as health anxiety. Health anxiety also known as hypochondriasis is the belief that one has an illness or in danger of developing a severe illness when in reality it is not there. People who suffer from health anxiety tend to overestimate how severe their illness is, and most times there is no illness present. For example, someone with this form of mental illness will believe that they have cancer because a family member passed away from cancer.

Do you suffer from health anxiety?

According to anxietyuk.org answering yes to most of the questions below may indicate that you suffer from health anxiety.

In the past six months:

Have you experienced a preoccupation with having a severe illness due to bodily symptoms that have been ongoing for at least six months?
Have you felt distressed due to this preoccupation?
Have you found that this preoccupation impacts negatively on all areas of life including, family life, social life, and work?
Have you felt that you have needed to carry out constant self-examination and self-diagnosis?
Have you experienced disbelief over a diagnosis from a doctor or felt that you are unconvinced by your doctor’s reassurances that you are fine?
Do you constantly need reassurance from doctors, family, and friends that you are fine, even if you don’t believe what you are being told?
How and when to seek treatment

If you answered yes to most of the questions, then it might be time to ask for help. One of most effective form of treatment for health anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT works by focusing on correcting irrational thoughts and problematic behaviors.

To learn more click here

“I try not to worry about the future – so I take each day just one anxiety attack at a time”

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