Worried Sick with Illness Anxiety (Hypochondria)

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October 7, 2018
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Avoidance and Low Mood
March 18, 2019

Worried Sick with Illness Anxiety (Hypochondria)

Health Fear & Anxiety

I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for months. I encourage people with anxiety about becoming ill to contact me and discuss treatment.

I’m seeing an increase in MS concerns after Selma Blair courageously began posting her story on Instagram. See her story here.

Symptoms of health and illness anxiety (historically referred to as hypochondria) include:

  • A preoccupation with health concerns, illness or fear of dying
  • Persistent fear of illness or catching an illness
  • Despite medical attention, fear does not decrease
  • Seeking reassurance from others that they are not ill or sick
  • Frequent googling (and re-googling) to research disease and illness
  • Fear of illness returns quickly or person begins focusing on another health concern
  • Symptoms last six months and interferes with daily living (please don’t wait 6 months. I would recommend a one month wait.) 

Often, people will not seek help for the condition because it typically does not interfere with their ability to function in daily life and is seen by family and friends as a quirk. Much of the intense emotional pain happens in one’s mind. In mild cases, rituals and googling can be under or around an hour a day. If more severe, a person will spend a majority of the day googling health fears and symptoms.

I’m posting a video here of a lovely gentleman who shared his story with a severe health fear (fear of MS). It’s really helpful. I’m sure this young man is helping a lot of people by posting his story.