If this sounds like you or someone you love, it could be health anxiety. Health anxiety is basically a state that makes healthy individuals worry that they’re ill, even when they don’t have any specific symptoms or even mild symptoms such as a sore throat. But it’s not just their health that individuals with health anxiety can focus on. Their physical health is also at risk.
In theory, those who have it, worry about many different things at once. This causes them to suffer from a myriad of symptoms that are in turn, very annoying. Common symptoms of Health Anxiety include constant tiredness, headaches, anxiety over even the smallest things such as going up in the nose.
The same theory also states that those who have anxiety over even seemingly more commonplace things such as staircases or elevators may find themselves being too anxious to go on these things, which then translates to not getting enough sleep at night, thus leading to further health issues. Of course, this also applies to individuals who have general health anxiety as well, but the theory states that it goes both ways.
If you have been wondering how to make sure you don’t become infected with health anxiety, there are a variety of things you can do to gain more reassurance in your life. Getting proper sleep is always a good idea, since it helps replenish your body with the necessary chemicals for good health, and gives you a great outlet for emotions and feelings you might not normally have access to.
Getting out and socializing is also important since interaction with others gives you the chance to learn more about yourself and weigh your options before you make decisions that might impact your long-term health.
However, if you find yourself unable to shake your worries, consulting a therapist who deals with mental disorders can be very helpful. They can help you to determine whether you are suffering from a serious illness or if your symptoms are caused by something simpler, such as stress.
Symptoms of Health Anxiety
Health anxiety is a persistent and intense fear of having an unrealistic degree of medical risk to actually having the disease. People with high levels of health anxiety are prone to misinterpret common medical symptoms, such as fatigue, dizziness, or headaches, as indications of more serious underlying illness.
Often, symptoms of anxiety are mistaken for the symptoms of other diseases. This can be particularly worrisome in light of the increasing prevalence of a host of diseases that seem to be affecting more people every year. People who suffer from anxiety often worry that they may have a pre-determined illness that they can no longer control and that if it is diagnosed and treated early it will surely clear up.
Health anxiety manifests itself through cognitive behavior therapy as an extreme fear of health. This cognitive avoidance has the goal of minimizing the chance that an individual will develop a health condition that may later be costly and debilitating. It perpetuates itself by maintaining a negative view of health and wellness, and an overly negative view of self-defense, personal hygiene, and the ability of others to help.
The excessive focus on the “well-being” of others is consistent with the social model of psychological theory, which holds that humans maintain self-focused and self-defeating beliefs and thoughts to explain their patterns of sociability and activity. Health anxiety interferes with healthy self-scrutinizing and can lead to self-damaging thought patterns.
One of the primary objectives of cognitive behavioral therapy is the development of resources that individuals use when confronted with health anxiety. These resources include active reflection upon the thoughts that sustain their fear, rationalizations that reduce the impact of their negative feelings, and the ability to reframe their negative thoughts to make them more reasonable.
Through behavioral therapy, health anxiety sufferers learn to face their fears and deal with them effectively. They also learn to monitor their thoughts and change them accordingly. With this type of therapy, people improve their coping strategies and become better able to control their illnesses and injury without the fear of going crazy.
The Truth About Symptoms of Health Anxiety
The most effective treatment for health anxiety disorders is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), especially with the use of relaxation techniques. CBT aims to help patients manage symptoms by changing how they respond to stressful situations.
This includes the use of relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga, and distraction techniques, such as counting sheep or visualizing a tranquil lake. A patient may also be given medications in the form of antidepressants or tranquilizers to alleviate any severe attacks of anxiety. The medications are only given on a temporary basis; once the symptoms are eliminated, they will stop being used.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been found very effective in the treatment of health anxiety, involves confronting stressors in a relaxed manner. This can be done by either one-on-one sessions with a therapist or with the use of CBT software, which is available in both audio and video formats.
While some people find it difficult to follow a step-by-step guide in the audio format, many other people find that it is much easier to remember because it requires more focus and less attention than the video format. The use of relaxation techniques is also beneficial because it helps one to deal with negative feelings without taking in the negativity surrounding the symptoms.
Medications, while an important part of cognitive-behavioral therapy for health anxiety, should only be used as a last resort because they are known to be very addictive.
Although health anxiety might include symptoms such as constant fatigue, nausea, and trouble concentrating, the disorder itself is not debilitating. In fact, most people who suffer from this condition find that they are able to function daily without any symptoms, even without going to work.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it would be a good idea to check with your doctor before taking any medication. Also, it would be a good idea to pay attention to the things that make you feel good, such as exercise and healthy food choices, since these things have been proven to reduce symptoms associated with the illness.