Hypochondriasis (a complete in-depth guide)

Hypochondriasis
JuanitaHFNE

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.

This article will provide you detailed information about hypochondriasis so that you will become more aware of the problem. In this article, you will also get complete detail about the possible causes, symptoms, and the most appropriate treatment of this disease.

Hypochondriasis (a complete in-depth guide)

Hypochondriasis is an illness anxiety disorder in which a person has a fear of becoming sick. This is a panic disorder in which a person continuously thinks that he/she will fall ill because of any wrong reason.

Mostly such individuals have faced some horrible moments in the past that may make them feel like they are susceptible to falling sick. These patients are not only depressed, but also you’ll see the worry on their faces most of the time, and it isn’t a good thing.

Hypochondriasis is a severe problem as the person suffering from this problem is always in fear. Not only that, they fear becoming sick, but also they feel like they are going to be dead soon. These beliefs can sometimes be very dangerous as it can lead to the person committing suicide to avoid his/her problems.

Many people who suffer from such type of anxiety disorder fear from going out or doing anything that they are not comfortable doing. This also involves going out to eat at a restaurant because these patients may believe that the food might be poisoned and that they should stay away from it.

Some of these cases can even lead to starvation and severely affect the physical health of the patient. When the person has so much fear in his head, it becomes challenging to live life properly. When you consistently have a fear of falling sick, then you can never live a healthy life. These patients sometimes stop eating because they feel like the food might be contaminated or that it may contain stuff that can be bad for their health.

Mostly such cases are treated with therapy sessions, but in some cases, regular medication is needed. Therefore, it is always better to have thorough knowledge about hypochondriasis so that it will become easier for you to save someone’s life as well.

Hypochondriasis (a complete in-depth guide)

Harmful effects of illness anxiety disorder on health

When it comes to hypochondriasis or illness anxiety disorder, one must not take it lightly as it can potentially damage one’s health. Mostly in our revert day lives, we are so occupied in other things that we fail to give importance to the ones who are suffering mentally

Just because the suffering is not visible for the outside, it doesn’t mean that the person doesn’t need a proper medical treatment. Therefore everyone needs to know about the possible adverse side effects of illness anxiety disorder on our physical and mental health.

Depression and anxiety

One of the significant health issues caused by hypochondriasis or illness anxiety disorder is depression and anxiety. When a person is depressed not only that they feel sad and low, but also they don’t feel like doing anything.

This not only affects their health but also the health of the people around them as it is not easy to see your loved ones suffering. Depression caused by Hypochondriasis can be very dangerous, and the person needs to take it to the doctor as early as possible.

Suicide attempts

Another health problem caused by illness anxiety disorder is suicide attempts. Suicide is not a joke, and a person trying to kill himself needs emotional and psychological help. Illness anxiety disorder can lead to suicide because the person who is suffering needs some severe mental health treatment.

In most cases, these patients don’t even trust the doctor because they think the doctor is not trying to help them. This is because these patients believe that they are suffering from a severe illness that the doctor is hiding from them. These psychological problems can lead to mental health issues and eventually cause suicide attempts.

Hypochondriasis (a complete in-depth guide)

Physical weakness: 

In most of the cases of illness anxiety disorder, the person stops eating because they don’t trust what they eat. They feel like whatever they are eating is creating more problems for their health. These wrong thoughts eventually become a strong belief, which then becomes very hard to get rid of.

Often such patients have a problem with their food intake as they don’t trust what they eat. This wrong idea that everything that they are eating is terrible and that it can causes serious health problems affects their physical health.

Patients suffering from illness anxiety disorder eat very less, or sometimes they don’t eat at all. This created physical weakness, which can sometimes be fatal. Starvation can cause dehydration as well, which, if prolonged, is very dangerous for the body. 

Most common causes of Hypochondriasis:

Everyone needs to have a detailed understanding of this illness anxiety disorder as it will help save someone’s life. Hypochondriasis is a serious health disorder, and it’s most common causes are as follows:

Sexual abuse: One of the most common reasons for illness anxiety disorder is sexual abuse. Often people who are sexually abused isn’t he past suffer from an illness anxiety disorder because they have a strong belief that they are suffering from a severe illness like AIDS, HIV, etc.

It doesn’t mean that a person who is sexually abused cannot catch a sexual disease, but most of the time, the individual escapes safely. This fear of having a severe illness can affect someone mentally as well as physically.

Major depressive disorder: Another immediate cause of illness anxiety disorder is depression. Depression can be a riot to many problems as it is of illness anxiety disorder. When a person is suffering from depression, not only that, they feel sad most of the time but also it creates a fear in them that they are not okay, and they are suffering from some severe illness.

These thoughts can be dangerous, and it prevents the person from being happy and healthy. Most people who suffer from major depressive disorder have hypochondriasis because they have a belief that they are not okay mentally and physically.

Childhood abuse: This is another prevalent cause of illness anxiety disorder. It is called as childhood abuse. Often children who face any damage develop a fear of dying or become sick. If this is not treated timely, then it can lead to illness anxiety disorder and other health problems like depression, panic disorders, etc.

 Therefore everyone needs to have precise detail about illness anxiety disorder so that it will be easier to spread awareness about this mental health illness.

Most common symptoms of hypochondriasis

Here is another essential thing that you need to know about Hypochondriasis, and that is its symptoms. When you are not aware of signs of a particular disease, it becomes hard to find out the real issue that is affecting the health of an individual.

When it comes to illness anxiety disorder, it has several symptoms, but the most common symptoms of this disease are as follows:

Always worried about catching an illness: One of the most common symptoms of illness anxiety disorder is that the person is still concerned about becoming sick due to a severe illness. Such type of patient will always talk about his health and tell people about his illness.

In reality this person is lovely and has no such illness, but since this person believes as if he is suffering from a severe disease, therefore they are always sad and worried.

Not only that, it creates more problems for the patient but also for his family, and if this isn’t stopped, it can result in significant health problems, which can then be fatal.

Has some physical problem: In some cases of illness anxiety disorder, the person suffering might be physically unfit. For example, the patient might be having some severe pain in the body or some injury.

But these physical problems are not big enough to make the person think as if he/she is suffering from a severe illness like cancer, tumor, etc. Such believes can be very dangerous for the person, and it can cause significant mental health issues.

Fear of dying sooner: This is a very color symptom seen in patients dealing with an illness anxiety disorder. They have a constant fear of death, and they believe that they will die sooner as compared to other people.

This particular belief not only effects the mental health of the person but also asked them natural unfit. This person might stop doing extraordinary things in life as they have a firm belief that they will die soon and that they don’t have to do anything anymore.

Possible treatment of hypochondriasis

This is very crucial to know when it comes to dealing with people who are suffering from hypochondriasis. You need to know the most appropriate treatment of this illness anxiety disorder.

When you have detailed information about the illness, and it’s most effective treatments, then it will become easier for you to not only deal with the patient but also to take the patient to the hospital by recognizing the problem.

Therapy sessions: This is one of the most effective treatments of illness anxiety disorder because this problem mostly links with mental health. A qualified and trained team of doctors will examine the patient and suggest to him the most appropriate treatment, which is therapy. The team of psychiatrists carries out the therapy session to the patient. Most of the therapy sessions are very useful when it comes to treating the patient.

Some useful resources:

  1.  Hypochondriasis and Health Anxiety, in the series Advances in Psychotherapy, Evidence Based Practice
  2. Help Me I’m A Hypochondriac!: From Headache to Hypochondria – How I Beat Health Anxiety
  3. Hypochondriasis and Health Anxiety: A Guide For Clinicians
  4. Advanced Issues in the Psychological Treatment of Complex Anxiety Disorders
  5. PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT OF HEALTH ANXIETY AND HYPOCHONDRIASIS: A Biopsychosocial Approach
Hypochondriasis (a complete in-depth guide)

Conclusion

Hypochondriasis is a severe health disorder that needs to be treated timely through proper medical procedures. The patient needs emotional and psychological help, and if not given, then it can be hazardous.

FAQs

 What causes hypochondriasis?

The fear of becoming ill and depression can be a significant cause of such type of illness anxiety disorder.

How do you stop hypochondria?

It can be stopped with proper therapy.

Can Hypochondria kill you?

In some cases, it can surely be life-threatening if prolonged.

Is a hypochondriac a mental illness?

It is an anxiety disorder and a panic disorder.

How is hypochondriasis diagnosed?

It is diagnosed with proper therapy and medication.

References:

  1. amazon
  2. my clevelandclinic
  3. mayoclinic
  4. emedicine medscape
  5. medicinenet

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