Health Anxiety… A False Alarm?
The symptoms are REAL but the thoughts are false
Thinking that you might have a serious illness or disease is going to be a terribly anxious and scary time for anyone. Getting a clean bill of health from a doctor or health professional will create a huge sense of relief, but what if this feeling doesn’t last long?
Health anxiety isn’t talked about very much at all. When a medical professional gives you the good news that all will be ok this brings some inner peace but then the feelings of … ‘what if I get ill again’? or ‘how long will I be well for’? can creep in and this can cause huge anxiety. Let us take a closer look at health anxiety and find out how it affects people and what you can do to combat it.
What is health anxiety?
If health anxiety is not a term you are familiar with what about if I said ‘hypochondria’?
This is a term that was used in the past but because of the stigma associated with it now it is called ‘health anxiety’.
If you suffer from this, you will be extremely anxious about your health. Symptoms can vary but most sufferers commonly will be obsessive about their health.
It is natural for us all to worry about our health but if you suffer from health anxiety every little twinge or ache can make you feel like you might have a serious illness. This can become obsessive and the anxiety can make you struggle to live your life. Let us now take a closer look at how this can affect people.
How does Health Anxiety affect us?
Health Anxiety can affect all walks of life…young, middle aged or older. In more extreme cases it is not unusual for the sufferer to imagine that they have all types of diseases and serious illness. For example, if someone has a headache or a migraine they could think that it could be a brain disorder. If someone has the all clear from cancer and feels off for a few days this can trigger health anxiety.
Worry can overtake our normal thought pattern and life can become stressful and very upsetting.
How can counselling help?
Health anxiety is a mental health problem and getting it diagnosed can be very difficult because the person believes they are physically ill it can be very difficult for that person to believe it is actual anxiety causing the problem.
Counselling can be such an effective treatment for someone who is suffering. Counselling can help people with these problems by tackling their health/belief worries one bit at a time. It can also explore how sufferers can deal with their problems and look at ways to change their behaviour.
Everyone responds to counselling differently. Some sufferers respond quickly and others more slowly. The good news though is that most people will respond to the counselling and get on a road to recovery and start to feel better in themselves.
It can be difficult to fit face to face counselling in with the busy lives we have. I offer face to face and telephone counselling to try and fit in with your life. Health anxiety affects so many people but with counselling and the right support you can begin to live your life again!