Worried about your health? It can be so hard ta deal with. Don’t let it take over! Here are 7 tips from a therapist ta help ya calm down! Find some peace of mind!
- Acknowledge the fear.
- Challenge anxious thoughts.
- Take care of your body.
- Take breaks from worrying.
- Connect with others.
- Change the focus of your attention.
- Seek professional help.
Worrying about your health is normal, but it can become a fixation. When you worry about your health and have no real proof that anything is wrong, you may be suffering from health anxiety. It’s a common condition. If your worries don’t go away or if you can’t cope with the idea you might have a serious medical condition, you should get help.
What is Health Anxiety?
Health anxiety is an exaggerated fear of having a serious illness. It often happens despite medical reassurance. It causes fear, worry, and doubt about physical health. Plus, it brings physical symptoms like increased heart rate, dizziness, and stomach problems.
It can be brought on by anything related to physical health, like medical tests or pictures of ill health. The distress can be so bad it stops one from doing daily activities, or even going to work or school.
Many people experience cycles of intense anxiety and then relief, only to become intense again. This cycle makes the distress more frustrating as if there is no escape.
Signs and Symptoms of Health Anxiety
Health anxiety, or hypochondria, is a mental health condition. People worry too much and excessively about having a serious medical illness. They check their body for signs and symptoms of illness. It can also be a fear of experiencing a serious medical emergency like cardiac arrest or a fear of developing chronic illnesses like cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Health Anxiety:
- Worrying too much about getting a physical disease
- Believing minor physical symptoms are serious illnesses
- Checking the body for signs of distress
- Visiting doctors for reassurance
- Avoiding activities due to fears of getting sick
- Searching for info about diseases on the internet
- Exaggerating minor changes in appearance as serious issues
- Feeling panic when talking about health issues
Causes of Health Anxiety
Health anxiety, also known as hypochondriasis, is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes an irrational fear of having a serious medical illness. Effects of health anxiety include constant worrying, difficulty concentrating, and physical exhaustion.
The causes of health anxiety are unknown. However, certain risk factors have been identified. These include traumatic experiences, chronic stress, personal beliefs and emotions, personality traits such as neuroticism or perfectionism, and mental illnesses like depression and PTSD. Additionally, some medical diagnoses can lead to persistent worry about potential complications.
Despite reassurance from doctors and family members, individuals suffering from health anxiety may experience additional psychological symptoms. This includes avoidance and reluctance to seek medical attention, even when necessary. Rarely, someone is actually suffering from a serious condition when diagnosed with health anxiety.
Tips to Calm Health Anxiety
Health anxiety can be stressful and upsetting. It’s when someone has a fear of having a serious illness, even though they don’t have any signs. Here’s how to manage it:
- Stay informed, but don’t overanalyze. Know what risks are out there. Don’t worry about “what if I have this disease?”.
- Challenge your thoughts. Don’t just believe them. Think about how likely it is that you have a serious issue.
- Make time to relax. Stress can make health anxiety worse. Do some deep breathing or meditation each day.
- Seek professional help. A therapist can use cognitive behavioral therapy to help break down habits like worrying.
- Connect with friends and family. They can provide support when you are scared.
- Exercise. It can reduce physical tension and help with worries.
- Be mindful of technology and social media. Limit your use, especially of things related to medical conditions.
Professional Help for Health Anxiety
Health anxiety is the most likely of all anxiety disorders to lead to repeated visits to healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, care providers may miss the diagnosis and wrongly attribute symptoms to a physical problem. If your worries interfere with your life, it’s best to seek professional help.
A mental health professional can help you understand why you feel the way you do, and teach coping strategies to manage fear and stop panic attacks. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been proven effective in treating many anxiety disorders. It helps people recognize patterns that maintain fear and develop better-coping mechanisms.
CBT teaches corrective responses when faced with triggers and relaxation techniques for calm breathing and muscle relaxation. Mindfulness-based practices such as yoga can be helpful, as they foster self-acceptance and supply techniques to slow down anxious problem-solving tendencies.
Treatment plans must be customized for each individual, as one size does not fit all. Anxiety can become chronic if left untreated and can interfere with work, sleep, and self-care activities. Mental health professionals trained in treating these symptoms should be consulted.
Self-Care for Health Anxiety
Caring for your body and mind is key to decreasing stress. So self-care is important for handling health worries.
Self-care could involve: exercising, doing yoga or writing in a journal, and getting good sleep. Plus, a self-care plan can help you figure out how to manage health anxiety.
This plan can cover: healthy changes in lifestyle; avoiding triggers that cause fear; challenging thoughts to check if they are true; distracting from anxious thoughts; understanding how long it takes for symptoms to go away; connecting with people who support you; and setting achievable goals.
By doing self-care activities that look after your physical and mental health, you can reduce some of the fear linked to health anxiety.
It can be done to confront health anxiety and quell the fear of sickness, but it needs some time and hard work. Above tips from a therapist can help to understand and respond to anxiety in positive and productive ways.
It may take some time, but positive self-talk, recognizing triggers, seeking reliable medical sources, limiting exposure to scary health news, setting boundaries with doctors and pals, reminding yourself of facts about your health status, and doing activities for pleasure is vital for calming health anxiety symptoms.