"Struggling with Health Anxiety Hypochondria is not easy. Unfortunately, not many know how to treat it properly. They simply don't have the training, knowledge, experience or credentials. But be hopeful! Your Hypochondriac symptoms are treatable! It's what we do. And your therapy for Hypochondria Health Anxiety doesn't have to break the bank! We have many cost options to assist you. With a little work and steady progress, you'll be on your way to recovery. So READ ON and SCROLL" - Dr. April
Call The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management
Main Office Phone: 310 - 429 - 1024
Hypochondria Health Anxiety Help, Therapy and Treatment:
The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles offers a special Hypochondria health anxiety treatment program with incredibly high success rates for those suffering with fears or obsessions of becoming ill. Dr. Craig April, as seen on A&E's hit TV show "Obsessed", is one of the foremost anxiety and OCD doctors in the country and the Director of the program. We treat adults, teenagers and children. If you are having difficulty with health anxiety symptoms and are curious about our anxiety treatment options, please call us at (310) 429-1024 or click here to email us.
*We Design Our Health Anxiety Treatment Program in Los Angeles To Fit Your Needs, Specific Anxiety Symptoms and Budget.
The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management
is located in:
- Los Angeles (serving Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Westwood, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, North Hollywood, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Culver City and the San Fernando Valley): 310-429-1024
What is Hypochondriac Health Anxiety?
Hypochondriac Health Anxiety, which is sometimes called illness anxiety, hypochondria or hypochondriasis, is an illness anxiety disorder that is simply an exaggerated fear of being ill and anxiety about getting sick. This anxiety condition can lead to substantial panic, overutilization of medical services, which includes lab tests, medical consultations, and behaviors that can worsen the psychological state of a hypochondriac in the long run. People who are affected by this illness anxiety disorder are obsessionally preoccupied with thoughts of either currently feeling ill or fears they will develop a disease shortly.
People with health anxiety tend to attach normal or harmless health symptoms to an unknown and serious disease or medical condition. Many hypochondriacs tend to focus on disease conditions such as Cancer, Heart Disease, Kidney failure and HIV, among others. For example, if a person (woman) who is experiencing health anxiety feels a lump in her breast, she may think of it to be a cancerous growth and thus develops the fear of having cancer. However, the hypochondriac (a person with illness anxiety) may focus on any type of sickness. They often interpret a health symptom or thoughts abuot their health as an indication of an imminent physical health problem.
The more hypochondriacs worry about physical health symptoms, the more the condition worsens. Physical symptoms can include pains, dizziness, swelling etc. Even after a medical examination has been carried out and it's been proven that there are no traces of such diseases in them, those with health anxiety often are not convinced of their healthy status. Many people suffering from illness anxiety often refuse to get help to avoid being told they should stop being unnecessarily worried and that their physical symptoms only exist in their imaginations.
Symptoms of Hypochondria Health Anxiety
Many people suffering from hypochondria health anxiety experience certain symptoms including:
• Frequent worry that minor or harmless symptoms indicate a serious disease
• Constantly checking your body for any sign of physical illness such as pains, tingling, sores or lumps
• Constantly seeking reassurance from people that you are not sick
• Acting as if you are ill and thus avoiding physical activities
• Avoiding or not being part of anything that has to do with a serious illness like disease awareness program, medical TV program/channels or medical screening
• Going for repeated medical consultation or even avoiding seeking medical help
• Constantly switching doctors or seeking out new lab test results because they doubt their competence
• Obsessive online searching for health information that will either explain their symptoms or reduce anxiety.
• Stressed social relationships
• Repeated checking for vital signs and symptoms like blood pressure and pulse
The symptoms that are felt by hypochondriacs are often real. Though these symptoms may be the result of high levels of stress or minor health issues and not from their imagined life-threatening diseases. Before opening up to health anxiety therapy or treatment for health anxiety, many people suffering from hypochondria are often opposed to the fact they have anxiety.
A lot of hypochondriacs are unwilling to recognize their symptoms may be caused by psychosocial factors - anxiety can cause symptoms such as a headache, increased heartbeat, stomach ache or stomach pain, which may be mistaken as a sign and symptoms for serious sickness.
Hypochondriac Health Anxiety Obsessions
Health anxiety or hypochondria is sometimes considered a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Health anxiety obsessions simply mean repeated and extreme fears of having a disease. People suffering from Health anxiety obsessions often have scary thoughts about health. For example, a person with this health anxiety disorder is frequently obsessed about having breast cancer and as a result of the worry, she goes through several medical examinations and screenings, surfs the internet or reads books and articles on breast cancer; she also thoroughly examines her body for signs that indicate she has breast cancer. She may constantly talk to others to be assured that she is not experiencing this type of sickness.
Generally, these health obsessions about a specific or even life-threatening illness are triggered either internally or externally.
Internal Triggers - These internal anxiety triggers include physical or behavioral sensations, such as a headache, change in body temperature, stomache ache, increased heartbeat, dizziness, fatigue, lumps, rashes, itching, etc.
External Triggers - These external anxiety triggers include several environmental factors, such as articles or books, a health-related story shared by someone, the news, observation of someone who is sick, amongst others.
Most people experiencing these kind of health obsessions often keep them to themselves and can live with them for years without seeking help. To cope, they then might engage in compulsive behaviors which can worsen their anxious state.
According to several medical reports, there are some typical fears that are related to Health Anxiety:
• The constant feeling there is something medically wrong with you
• Worry there is something wrong with your heart
• Fear that you have an unidentified cancer
• Worry you may have a tumor growth in a particular part of your body
• Fear you may have contracted HIV/AIDS
Hypochondriac Health Anxiety Compulsions
Health anxiety compulsions are the behaviors or mental rituals you create to help you deal with your health fears. Carrying out these compulsive behaviors, over time, tends to worsen your health anxiety rather than eliminate your fears. These following behaviors are very common in people experiencing health anxiety compulsions:
Researching symptoms on the internet - To reduce anxiety, searching for the worst diagnosis or cause of symptoms on several medical websites or search engines.
Frequently visiting the doctor for medical examinations and diagnoses - This involves repeated visits to the same doctor or checking with different doctors with multiple requests for medical examinations.
Avoiding triggering situations - Staying away from the things you feel may activate your health anxiety, such as TV or radio Health programs, health magazines, and newspapers, health news articles, hospitals, sick people, medical screening, environments that could worsen symptoms, self-examinations etc. There are people who avoid sick people not because they don’t care about them but because of their health fears.
Constant body examinations - Hypochondriacs frequently monitor or check their body for any internal or external change like rashes, sores or inflammation, weight fluctuations, breast lumps, tingling sensations, increased heartbeat, etc. They often spend a lot of time, from several minutes to several hours a day, attempting to control and monitor any changes in their body.
Frequently seeking reassurance - This involves behaviors like constantly checking symptoms with doctors, seeking more medical exams, repeatedly reading through various medical journals, among others.
Treatment for Hypochondriac Health Anxiety
There are several treatments available for people suffering from health anxiety or hypochondria. Since this condition is included in the OCD group of disorders, the treatments that are used in treating OCD patients are also used for patients with health anxiety. These are:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) - This form of psychotherapy is a combination of two therapeutic components - cognitive and behavioral. The cognitive component of the therapy, focuses on awareness of false thought patterns, attitudes, and expectations. Its purpose is to help you recognize and understand false and distressing beliefs that activate anxiety. The next focus is on shifting to more reality-based perspectives that will guide healthy choices.
The behavioral component of the therapy is aimed at discovering the behavioral patterns patients use to cope with their condition, followed by changing these behavioral routines to help face fear and learn healthy coping methods. This therapy helps people with health anxiety gradually confront their fears so that, over a short time, they will become less sensitive to them. This can be done through Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).
Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) – This type of CBT is very effective and produces amazing results. It helps people face their fears successfully. In this technique, people are exposed to their fears, which in this case, is the fear of getting sick. Over time, exposure to health fears while learning to manage the uncomfortable feelings associated with these fears, will make the anxiety disappear.
Medication - Some people find some benefit from antidepressant medication to help prevent or reduce depression that may arise as a result of this illness anxiety. However, they still must receive cognitive behavioral therapy with a health anxiety specialist to reduce anxiety symptoms and manage health fears. A pill cannot cure an anxiety disorder or fear!
To summarize, there are several problems or complications that can arise from this illness anxiety. Avoiding or delaying getting treated will only worsen the condition. The complications that may affect people suffering from hypochondriasis can include school or work problems, drug abuse, depression, health risks that may arise as a result of unnecessary medical procedures, extreme frustration, anger, financial issues that may arise due to medical bills and stress-related illness. Don't waste time suffering with health anxiety. It can be treated! Call us now at 310-429-1024 for help.
You can learn how to overcome hypochondriac health anxiety to feel calm and in charge of your life again! If you often think, "Health anxiety is ruining my life", don't wait. Call NOW!
Call The April Center For Anxiety Attack Management
Main Office Phone: 310 - 429 - 1024
Below are more thoughts and considerations regarding health anxiety:
Can health anxiety cause pain and physical symptoms?
What’s interesting to note about our thoughts (anxious or otherwise) is that they don’t have much power in the external world, unless we back them up with action. That said, when considering our internal world, thoughts can have power when focused on our body’s sensations or feelings. In fact, people with health anxiety often describe the consequences of struggling with these thoughts as an extremely intense or nervous experience. For example, if your health anxiety leads you to obsess about potentially having a headache, your focus alone on headache symptoms could then cause you to have sensations there, which you would experience as a headache. Whatever you resist, persists. Especially internally. Anxiety only lives through fighting it. Through your resistance. So, if you don’t want to feel something internally, the chances are that you will likely feel it by focusing on and resisting it.
Almost anywhere we direct attention in the body can cause sensations. Therefore, if you’re hyper-focused on not wanting specific symptoms or sensations, you are potentially setting them up! The challenge is that it can become difficult to discern whether you have a real illness or not. And, with certain bodily symptoms, because your repeated thoughts can have an effect, it can produce health symptoms, like a headache or stomachache or nausea, etc. At this point for many, they begin to question if they’re simply a hypochondriac or if they truly have some ailment or illness. Sometimes, their spouses or romantic partners dismiss their frequent, but invalidated health concerns out of frustration by saying, “I’m living with a hypochondriac” or some derivative, thereof.
One goal in the treatment of health anxiety is to assist the sufferer in how to overcome their particular health anxiety concern when due to an obsession. Once anxiety is relieved, they can then give proper reasonable attention to any true medical issue, if necessary. More often than not, once anxiety is overcome, there is no health issue! Of course, if someone with health anxiety has not seen a medical doctor for an evaluation, it’s highly recommended prior to treatment. That said, most people with health anxiety have had frequent doctors visits deemed unnecessary based on continued lack of negative health test results. A common aspect of health anxiety treatment then becomes reducing the compulsion of unneeded and unwarranted doctor’s visits.