Hypochondriasis is a condition in which a person is excessively and unduly worried about having a serious illness. An old concept, its meaning has repeatedly changed due to redefinitions in its source metaphors. Symptoms include a long-term and intense fear of having a serious condition and worry that minor symptoms indicate something serious.
The first step is to always see the doctor and get a complete checkup. Health fears are health fears, and you shouldn’t ever leave your health to chance. But you should also be aware that seeing a doctor will almost never stop these health worries, nor will it even help your anxiety. In fact, in some cases seeing a doctor can actually make your anxiety worse. It’s still worth going, but never assume that going to the doctor is going to stop it.
So what else can you do? Living a healthy lifestyle is actually the first step. Diet and exercise aren’t necessarily going to stop your anxiety, but they’ll reduce some of the minor aches, pains, and discomforts in life that can trigger hypochondria.
THE FOLLOWING TIPS CAN HELP PREVENT IT:
1: Get Out Of Your Head: Health anxiety sometimes cascades. A person feels something, then they start to think about it more and more and more until it develops into very significant anxiety. Stop it before it starts. If you feel that anxiety coming on, call someone and talk about things so that you aren’t overly thinking about it.
2: Don’t Google:You should also avoid Googling symptoms and articles as best you can. Yes, there is the temptation to want to catch everything early when you feel sick, but Googling never gives results that are helpful and instead is only going to make you fear for your health more or develop other fears.
3: Live: One of the best questions asked to those with hypochondria is: “Okay, let’s pretend you do have a health problem. Do you want to look back on your life and realize that you spent years and years doing nothing but worrying about it?” Going out and doing whatever you can to live a full and great life is both a cure for anxiety and a way to make sure that your hypochondria causes fewer problems in your life.
4: Learn to recognize when you’re stressed and how this affects your body and regularly practice stress management and relaxation techniques.
Of course, these are only the first few steps. In the end, you’re still going to need to address your anxiety and make sure that you’re actively focused on calming yourself and your anxious thoughts.