Encyclopedia

Hypochondria

Description

When a person has hypochondria, they become obsessed with the idea that they have acquired a serious or life-threatening illness that has not yet been diagnosed.

This causes serious concern for months or longer, despite receiving no medical evidence of a serious health problem.

The mental condition is also called hypochondriasis.

Concern about health within certain limits is something completely normal.

And hypochondriasis engages the attention of the affected person to such an extent that he begins to experience difficulties in fulfilling his duties at work, problems appear with personal relationships or in other areas of his life.

The severe form of the mental condition can lead to complete social isolation.

Although hypochodriasis is a chronic mental disorder, one should not live one’s life in constant worry about one’s health.

Treatment such as counseling with a psychologist, medication, and even just learning about the condition can help manage anxiety.

What are the symptoms?

• Chronic intense fear or anxiety about a potentially serious medical condition;

• Minor symptoms or minimal physical impairments cause great concern because they most likely represent a serious illness;

• Those affected ask their doctors to repeat the same tests several times, fearing that they may have missed something in the imaging tests or that a mistake has been made in preparing the results of laboratory tests;

• Frequent change of treating doctors.

If a medical professional tells a hypochondriac that he is not sick, he replaces him with another in the hope that it will confirm his suspicions of an existing but undetected serious illness.

No matter how persuasive the doctor is, the affected person cannot be convinced and again starts looking for another qualified opinion.

Frequently check the body for any recent lumps or sores;

• Several times a day, those affected monitor their vital signs by checking their pulse and blood pressure;

• The hypochondriac thinks he has a disease he has read or heard about on television;

• Constantly talks about his symptoms or suspected illnesses with his family and friends.

What are the reasons?

It is not clear why some people at a certain point in their lives are overcome with the thought that they have a very serious or incurable disease that has not yet been discovered.< /p>

Character, life experience and heredity in some way unknown to medical science are believed to contribute to the development of the mental disorder.

In addition, there are similarities between hypochondriasis and anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Treatment of hypochondria

Psychotherapy – one form of it called cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective treatment.

With the help of this methodology, the hypochondriac can become aware of and control his behavioral manifestations that cause constant anxiety.

The sufferer learns how to monitor and control his mental reactions.

Sometimes another psychotherapeutic method is applied, in which the patient faces his fears and, with the help of the therapist, builds skills on how to deal with these unpleasant sensations.

Psychoeducation – the purpose of this method of psychotherapy is to provide adequate information to the hypochondriac and his family about hypochondriasis as a mental disorder and about established ways of dealing with the associated fears and worries.< /p>

• Medicines – some of the antidepressants have proven their positive effects in hypochondriacs, the most commonly used being: serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine, fluvoxamine and paroxetine and tricyclic antidepressants such as clomipramine and imipramine.

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