Hypochondria is a serious condition that is often minimized. Those who suffer from hypochondria are overly concerned or preoccupied with their health. Because of fear of developing a serious illness, these individuals will likely make repeated visits to their doctor’s office, and believe they have become ill with every imaginable disease. If suffering from hypochondria, reading about a rare illness can produce symptoms that do not exist.
Although hypochondriacs think or imagine that they are ill, these individuals should not be confused with person’s who fake being ill to get attention. Hypochondrias generally have a fear of becoming sick. When these person’s imagine sicknesses, they legitimately believe that they are falling ill or perhaps dying. In most cases, those who suffer from hypochondria also suffer from a range of anxiety conditions. Medically diagnosing hypochondria is tricky. Yet, doctors will generally consider many factors before confirming diagnosis.
Symptoms of a Hypochondriac
Hypochondriacs have varying symptoms. For the most part, these persons will exhibit symptoms representative of their biggest fear. For example, if a person has a fear of developing a brain tumor or having an aneurysm, they may likely experience headaches, or dizziness. Other symptoms might include stomach or abdominal discomfort, unexplained pain, or fatigue.
Physicians have a high success rate with treating hypochondriacs. Of course, treatment periods will differ. Those who recognize their irrational fears will respond better to treatment. On the other hand, if a patient is unwilling to accept a physician’s diagnosis, treatment will take longer.
To treat hypochondriacs, physicians may choose combination therapy. This might consist of therapy sessions accompanied with anti-anxiety medications. Therapist can often get to the root of anxiety, whereas medication can lessen anxiety. When helping a hypochondriac overcome their fear of diseases, physicians will help them realize that normal symptoms are not necessarily reflective of a serious medical condition. For example, chest pains may simply be due to stress or heartburn, rather than a heart attack. Moreover, stomach pains are usually due to gas or other common gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome, and not cancer. In a nutshell, patients will be encouraged to find more probable explanations to pain and discomfort.
Are You a Hypochondriac?
Everyone will experience some degree of hypochondria at some point in their lives. However, the problem is chronic or severe when the fear of illness or death becomes an uncontrollable obsession. Hypochondriacs will likely answer “yes” to the majority of the following questions.
1. Are you overly concerned about aches and pains?
2. Do you worry constantly about your health?
3. Do you question your doctor’s diagnosis?
4. Do you know the symptoms of many different types of cancers?
5. If you hear about a disease, do you worry about getting it?
6. Do you regularly show signs of symptoms of very serious diseases?
7. Do you believe that you are dying?