Are You Health Conscious or Health Anxious?
Almost every one of us gets concerned about our health and well-being. And that concern can motivate us to try to optimize our eating, sleep and to lead a healthy lifestyle. Being health conscious can be great. It helps a lot in leading a healthy, happy, successful and meaningful life.
However, problems arise when this health consciousness gets transformed into “health anxiousness”. If you become too obsessed about your health and if you get too apprehensive that you are suffering from a severe illness (without the presence of such medical symptoms), then you may be experiencing health anxiety. In the past, psychologists referred to this as “hypochondria”. However, it is now called Illness Anxiety Disorder.
Illness Anxiety Disorder is a somatic symptom disorder in which the person suffering from it gets overly anxious or obsessed over his/her physical conditions. They see even a minor problem as an exaggerated severe illness. People suffering from Illness Anxiety Disorder often require continuous care, support and assurance from health service providers, family and acquaintances.
See if you recognize yourself in the symptoms of health anxiety:
Being preoccupied with having or developing a serious disease or health condition
Worrying that minor symptoms or body sensations mean you have a serious illness
Being easily alarmed about your health status
Finding little or no reassurance from doctor visits or negative test results
Worrying excessively about a specific medical condition or your risk of developing a medical condition because it runs in your family
Having so much distress about possible illnesses that it’s hard for you to function
Repeatedly checking your body for signs of illness or disease
Frequently making medical appointments for reassurance — or avoiding medical care for fear of being diagnosed with a serious illness
Avoiding people, places or activities for fear of health risks
Constantly talking about your health and possible illnesses
Frequently searching the internet for causes of symptoms or possible illnesses
What’s more, people with Illness Anxiety Disorder can also experience additional mental health issues, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Clinical Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
The good news is that Illness Anxiety Disorder can be treated. Effective methods of treatment include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Exposure Therapy and support. You can receive these types of treatment here. Plus get 20% off your first month.