Are You Experiencing Health Anxiety? Here’s How to Manage It
Therapy Thursday May 26 2022
Worrying about your health is completely understandable. After all, your health is truly priceless. However, excessive worries about your health and wellness might indicate you have health anxiety—also sometimes referred to as hypochondria.
If this sounds familiar, you might find yourself stuck in a loop of “checking behaviours,” where you’re constantly checking your blood pressure or booking trips to your doctor’s office—just to make sure everything is okay. You might worry that what is actually a regular body sensation is a sign of disease or illness. You may also frequently seek reassurance from your doctor or other healthcare providers to let you know that you’re not facing a chronic or life-threatening diagnosis.
In many ways, health anxiety can start to take over your life. So, what can you do about it? How can you overcome it? In this article, we will briefly look at why health anxiety happens, as well as how you can finally move past your health worries once and for all.
What Triggers Health Anxiety?
Triggers for health anxiety can vary depending on the person and their situation. However, many experts agree that health anxiety might arise due to:
- Having a lack of body awareness and an understanding of regular body sensations.
- Being around others who are constantly worried about their health.
- Dealing with a serious illness or disease in childhood leading you to become fearful of certain body sensations.
Yet, these aren’t the only factors impacting whether or not you develop health anxiety. If you’ve experienced a serious and traumatic event, recently faced the possibility of being diagnosed with a serious illness, were abused as a child, or have a pre-existing anxiety disorder, you might be at a higher risk of having excessive worries regarding your health.
Additionally, the behaviours of continually checking whether your health is okay or looking up your “symptoms” online may reinforce your health anxiety. Even having your doctor perform a health test that disproves your fear can continue to fuel your anxiety.
The good news is that health anxiety is entirely treatable. In the following section, we’ll explore how you can reduce health anxiety and finally live your life without fear or worry holding you back.
How Can I Stop My Health Anxiety?
First and foremost, no matter how hard it might be, it’s important to stop the “checking behaviours.” This includes looking up diseases and symptoms online or checking your blood pressure and pulse on a daily basis.
Therapy can further help you address your thought patterns, avoid checking behaviours, and manage your anxiety. Research even shows the efficacy and efficiency of psychotherapy, including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), when it comes to treating health anxiety.
As a therapist, I can help you:
- Identify your health worries and beliefs
- Find other ways to think about your physical sensations
- Guide you on a better way to respond to your physical sensations
- Cope with anxiety and stress
- Gain back control of your life and improve your function in your daily life
- Understand if other mental disorders are playing a part in your health anxiety
Together, we can find solutions, helping you move past worries and toward a life you love. If you’re ready to take that first step, contact me today.