10 Hypochondriasis Symptoms

By james
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None of us like getting ill. It can be unpleasant, and even painful. In some cases, it can even present a very real threat to our lives. As such, it pays to be reasonably careful and we should see a doctor if we feel as though something is wrong. While some level of concern is healthy, however, it can get out of control for some people.

Many people have a tendency to try and play down the potential seriousness of a disease. The opposite can be said to be true for a lot of other people, however. Some people have a condition known as hypochondriasis in some cases, and it can be debilitating in some cases.

1. Hypochondriasis

Hypochondriasis is a condition that is also known as illness anxiety disorder. It causes the patient to experience extreme anxiety over perceived health issues. The symptoms that cause the concern are likely to be mild and harmless. In some cases, the patient may not have any physical symptoms whatsoever.

The condition can be distressing to the patient to the point where it has a serious impact on the quality of their life. The severity of the condition can fluctuate, and it is also likely to last for a long time. The condition is also likely to worsen as the patient gets older.


2. Causes

The causes of hypochondriasis are not at all well understood, so it is difficult to say exactly what causes it. However, the condition is associated with certain factors. One of these is family, and somebody who grew up with parents who were often concerned about their health is more likely to develop the condition.

Another potential cause is previous experiences. If somebody had a serious illness as a child, for example, then the memory of that illness might make them afraid of being ill again. What’s more is that some personality types are simply more likely to accept that certain symptoms are nothing to be afraid of.

3. Anxiety Over Symptoms

The main symptom of the condition is anxiety over even mild symptoms – or even no symptoms. The extent of the anxiety can cause the patient to be almost constantly preoccupied about their concerns. The patient can find themselves constantly checking their body to look for signs of illness.

The stress can be so severe that the patient finds it difficult even to go about their day to day lives. What’s more is that they will take not relief from positive news after visits from the doctors. Patients will also often spend a lot of time on the internet looking up information on certain diseases and their symptoms.


4. Avoiding People

Many diseases are transmitted from person to person, and there will also often be pathogens on surfaces and even in the air that we breathe. Being around other people will increase the likelihood of any one person becoming ill. This can cause people with hypochondriasis to try and avoid being around other people as much as possible.

Patients will often try and avoid public transport and other places that are likely to be busy. They might even find it difficult to face going to work, and they are also likely to prefer staying in alone rather than socializing outside with other people.

5. Stress Risk Factors

Hypochondriasis doesn’t usually develop until the patient is in their middle ages at least. The condition can get worse as the patient gets closer to an age where genuinely serious health conditions are more likely to develop. People that have experienced a lot of stress in their lives are also more likely to develop problems.

Some patients with the condition will have experienced child abuse in their past, while others may have been in toxic relationships and experienced domestic violence. They might also have had genuine concerns over a potentially serious in the past, and they might have spent time with a relative who was seriously ill.


6. Personality Risk Factors

People that have a certain type of personality are also more prone to hypochondriasis. In particular this means people that have a tendency to worry about things more than is appropriate. That does not mean to say that all people that are worriers will go on to develop hypochondriasis, however.

Another factor is people that spend a lot of time on the internet – particularly those that visit health sites. Constantly reading about diseases can begin to make the patient concerned about their own health. It can cause a vicious cycle as the patient can also end up spending even more time on the internet because of their anxiety.

7. Complications

As mentioned, hypochondriasis has the potential to have a profound impact on the patient’s quality of life. It can lead to real problems in their lives, such as their behavior putting a strain on relationships. It can cause problems in their family lives, in their social lives, and also in their professional lives.

Some patients will also run into financial difficulties. This may be down to problems working, and also down to regularly having to pay medical bills. The condition will also sometimes lead to other conditions like somatic symptom disorder, and even depression. Depression itself is a condition that can be very serious indeed.


8. Diagnosis

Diagnosis will often first entail a full examination to determine whether the patient does have any illnesses. It might be that the patient is genuinely ill but has an illness that is difficult to diagnose. This can include taking blood tests and using imaging equipment to look for health issues.

If nothing is found then the patient will likely be referred to a mental health specialist. The specialist will likely ask a lot of questions about the patient’s history, including the use of alcohol and other drugs. The specialist will also provide a psychological questionnaire, and try and determine if hypochondriasis, or another mental disorder, is causing the problem.

9. Medicinal Treatments

Treatment of the condition will depend largely on the exact nature of the patient’s symptoms. In some cases, certain anti-depressant may be prescribed that will have to treat anxiety disorders. In some cases, order psychological disorders may be present that will also need to be treated.

Medications for anxiety disorders can come with some unwelcome side-effects, so they are only prescribed when deemed necessary. It is also important that the patient lets the doctor aware of any negative side-effects they might experience from the medication.

10. Psychotherapy Treatment

Psychotherapy treatment for hypochondriasis will often involve cognitive behavioral therapy. This is intended to help the patient manage the condition by teaching them the skills they need to be able to control it. Psychotherapy may also be used to help address any other mental health problems that the patient is suffering from.

The therapy will help the patient to view their symptoms differently, and help them to cope with stress and anxiety. It will also help to encourage the patient to stop performing tasks like looking up illnesses on the internet and continually check their bodies. Therapy can be effective in helping the patient get back to some degree of normality in their life.


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