There are many different types of anxiety and hypochondria is one of them. Also known as health anxiety, this condition is characterized by excessive worry about suffering from a serious illness. If you know a person who keeps track of all physical symptoms, most often imagining that he or she has a serious illness, then this person is very likely a hypochondriac. These people find it very difficult to lead a regular life since their preoccupation with illness keeps them busy all the time.
A person who suffers from hypochondria is so convinced that his or her symptoms are real and life threatening that the doctor’s assurances usually hold no weight. In fact, being in the doctor’s presence is enough to send this person into great stress, leading to elevated blood pressure, excessive sweating, dizziness and nausea. This usually convinces the person that he or she is indeed suffering from a serious medical condition. Not only is this a major problem for the person suffering from hypochondria, but it also makes the person very difficult to be around, leading to isolation from friends and family.
A person suffering from hypochondria needs to get the right treatment without delay because this problem can lead to a full blown depression after a while. The person can also suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and different phobias as a result of this condition. The person can also suffer from generalized anxiety disorders because of being unable to deal with the pressure of being a hypochondriac.
Many people suffer from hypochondria as a result of being exposed to too much information about certain illnesses and epidemics. The internet is responsible for this condition to a large extent because it provides people with lots of information that is not necessarily complete. People who are already prone to stress get even more afraid thanks to this half-baked information and they start searching for the symptoms within themselves. Also the high levels of stress they experience cause them to eat and sleep poorly and suffer from a variety of aches and pains. For instance, people suffering from anxiety disorders who are told that they are at high risk for cancer will start imagining that they have the symptoms.
Dealing with anxiety is absolutely essential for people suffering hypochondria because it helps reduce the physical symptoms of stress that they confuse with having a serious disease. Interestingly, these symptoms are very real and severe even if they are self-created. It is very important to realize that the person is not malingering but is definitely suffering.
Treatments for hypochondria include anti-anxiety medications as well as cognitive behavioral therapy. Since early physical or sexual abuse can also lead to this condition, in such cases the person requires a lot of psychological help to understand why this is happening and how to address it. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been found to be very helpful in treating people suffering from hypochondria. The person should also stay away from alcohol and tobacco and should lead as active a life as possible because this helps to reduce anxiety.