Any anxiety can be debilitating; however, having constant and severe worry over your physical health is particularly consuming. This condition shouldn't be dismissed as anything less than serious anxiety and most of the time, anyone suffering from it needs professional help.
What This Is
Health anxiety was once referred to as hypochondria. It means you're so worried about having some physical ailment that you think about it obsessively. Obsessing over anything can derail your job, relationships, finances, and more, especially in extreme cases. Having health anxiety prompts a person to constantly check on themselves, their possible symptoms, and what their prognosis might be. They're so worried about becoming ill, they usually begin to feel physical symptoms as a result of the enormous psychological strain their condition puts them under.
Why It Happens
This condition often emerges after a person reaches adulthood and may be instigated by watching a loved one with sickness or experiencing a health crisis of their own. Sometimes, health anxiety is the result of physical, mental, or sexual abuse in childhood that was never addressed by the outside world. If you were abused or neglected and never had the opportunity to tell anyone about it, you still have the pain and scars, which ultimately compile in your conscious or subconscious mind in such a way as to reveal themselves, in the form of stress and imagined symptoms.
Major stress in life, too, can trigger health anxiety, such as a global pandemic, losing a loved one, or enduring a divorce or other breakup.
The Treatment For Health Anxiety
An anxiety counselor can officially diagnose this overwhelming mental health disorder, usually followed by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Cognition is the process by which a person gains information and memories via their senses and experiences. From cognitive function brain and behavior patterns form, although sometimes not in a healthy way. This therapy aims to intercept the negative behavior and thoughts, by recognizing their faults, including their possible origins, such as if you were mistreated earlier in life. Eventually, the goal of your anxiety counselor is to teach you to realize when your thinking deviates from a healthy path and to actually change those thought patterns before they cause you any harm.
This evidence-based therapy involves a lot of talking and analyzing, both of which should help you understand why you currently worry about an unhealthy excess, what your primary triggers are and how to take command of the thought process that leads you so far astray.
Addressing Your Physical Health The Right Way
Just because you have health anxiety doesn't mean you don't have any real health issues. It's important for you, like everyone else, to have regular annual checkups and to talk to your primary care physician when you have a concern. Your anxiety counselor can help make order of the medical chaos in your mind, so you're not constantly besieged by thoughts of illness and their subsequent physical manifestations.
You need to take good care of your body and mind, with a balanced diet, moderate exercise, and meditation or relaxation, as recommended by both your counselor and physician. It's also essential that you avoid running to Dr. Google with every little ache, pain, and other symptoms, lest you feed into the cycle of compulsions that lead to the severe anxiety you began with.
Health anxiety can hurt you in many ways, from the strain on your immune system to the havoc wreaked on your life, but there is help and it's just as close as your phone. Contact an anxiety counseling service today, like Lehigh Valley Counselors, as your first step down a much healthier and happier path.
A few years ago, I had a terrible disagreement with my mother-in-law. For several months, I didn’t speak to my husband’s mom. The bitterness I felt toward this woman was overwhelming. Thankfully, I decided to forgive her for the things she said and did to me. After I made this choice, I felt relieved and happier. Are you struggling to forgive someone? Consider making an appointment with a reputable counselor near you. This professional can help you sort through your feelings of resentment towards the other person. On this blog, I hope you will discover the numerous emotional issues counselors help clients successfully deal with.