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. Don’t let these health anxiety continue to disrupt your life. Call our office to schedule an evaluation today or request an appointment online. We provide the same high-quality service via telehealth for patients living in Maryland, DC, Virginia, Michigan, and Florida.
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Health anxiety (sometimes called hypochondria) is when you spend so much time worrying you're ill, or about getting ill, that it starts to take over your life. Health anxiety can interfere with your life, but it's highly treatable.
You may have health anxiety if you:
WCWCW can help. Call our office or request an appointment online today.
Anxiety itself can cause symptoms like headaches or a racing heartbeat, and you may mistake these for signs of illness.
Keep a diary
Challenge your thoughts
Keep busy with other things
Get back to normal activities
If your body is sending you signs that you’re ill, it’s normal to be concerned. Health anxiety is marked by the 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 primary care 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. At this point, your doctor may recommend seeking psychiatric help.
Seek psychiatric help for health anxiety if it’s affecting your quality of life, including your ability to:
Treatment for health anxiety focuses on improving your symptoms and ability to function in daily life. Typically, treatment involves psychotherapy, with medications sometimes added.
The most common treatment for health anxiety is psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can be very effective in treating health anxiety because it teaches you skills that can help you manage your disorder. You can participate in CBT individually or in a group. Some of the benefits of CBT include:
Other forms of psychotherapy are also sometimes used to treat health anxiety. This may include behavioral stress management and exposure therapy. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend medication in addition to your other treatments.
If your health anxiety is improving with psychotherapy alone, that is generally all that will be used to treat your condition. Some people don’t respond to psychotherapy, however. If this applies to you, your doctor may recommend medications.
Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are frequently used for this condition. If you have a mood or anxiety disorder in addition to your anxiety, medications used to treat those conditions may also help.
Our specialists at WCWCW in Bethesda, Maryland, offer the supportive care you need to overcome the challenges of health anxiety. We provide the same high-quality service via telehealth for patients living in Maryland, DC, Virginia, Michigan, and Florida. Call our office or request an appointment online today.