What’s Health Anxiety? And Why Is It Making You Sick?
Okay, can I get your full attention to discuss the topic of Health Anxiety? This condition does NOT get enough attention when assessing anxiety concerns. Health anxiety is a fear that you are ill or a fear that you have a medical condition that will lead to a loss of control or death.
People struggling with health and illness fears are often diagnosed with:
- Illness Anxiety Disorder (IAD),
- Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD),
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD),
- and/or Panic Disorder.
Your mind and sensory receptors have gone on a hunt! They’re scanning for any threats to your health. And they’re working really hard too. I’m sorry this is happening for you. It’s a very real, painful, and frustrating condition.
We believe we can help.
Are You Ready?
- Do you spend over 30 – 60 minutes a day googling health issues, or when you have a “flare-up” in physical sensations?
- Is worrying about your health making it difficult to concentrate on anything else?
- Are you noticing an increase in physical sensations on a part of your body?
- Are you avoiding or seeking medical attention because of these sensations?
- Are you repeatedly checking your body for signs of illness or disease?
- Have people told you that you worry too much about your health?
We get it! We also understand that the doctor’s office may have been a source of trauma for you. Many medical providers are untrained in this area. Remember, most medical providers only have a hammer (medication) and a knife (surgery). So, most conditions require behavioral changes or no intervention(s) until the condition fully presents or requires treatment. This can worsen anxiety for folks struggling with emerging medical conditions. Or, make it tricky for someone struggling with only an anxiety condition – because they are unable to explain their symptoms or receive absolute 100% assurance that they are not sick. We got you!
Our health anxiety provider, Kama Jensen, and common questions about health anxiety:
“Is this a real anxiety condition?”
Yes! Very real. I can’t stress this enough. Please consider getting help.
“I’m too embarrassed to talk about it. You’ll think I’m crazy. What can I do?”
No, I won’t. Health anxiety is relatively common. Nothing you say will shock me. Really. I get it. Common fear themes are a brain tumor, MS, heart attack or heart-related issues, blood clots, cancer, rare or unique illness, undiagnosed autoimmune, or low hormones.
“But what if I’m really sick?”
Right, maybe you are. We’ll discuss the medical protocol for treating health anxiety. It’s essential to have a medical team you trust.
Illness anxiety isn’t about wholly ruling out a medical condition. It’s about learning how to live with the fact that all of us can be walking around with health issues because we are humans. There is no guarantee. Humans suffer from specific medical problems. A diagnosis of illness anxiety is appropriate when the level of worry and distress is no longer helpful or informative. Everyone worries about getting sick, but people struggling with health anxiety are crippled by fear – losing control, illness, or fear of death.
“What’s the treatment?”
At CLCEC, we practice evidence-based interventions using somatic and exposure-based treatments. You’ll practice daily, even if symptoms are low. Once you get it down, it will become second nature.