What is Health Anxiety?
People with health anxiety; sometimes referred to as Hypochondria, tend to experience excessive psychological reactions to a perceived physical symptoms or bodily functions where they feel threatened health-wise.
For example, the individual may notice a small pain or a mole where their automatic thought is that they are not well; they must be ill.
They may even start to believe that the symptoms are evidence of some serious illness, such as cancer, a brain tumour, or impending heart failure where most people just ignore such symptoms.
The person with health anxiety may then become physically anxious, and usually will seek reassurance often from medical services.
A vicious circle of worry then builds and the more they worry, the more they notice physical more symptoms of anxiety which are misinterpreted as more indicators of a serious illness.
So if not managed health anxiety can become a growing viscous cycle that may have been triggers in earlier life by an event, anchored within an image, a smell, a feeling, or some other sensory; where the person has been associated with illness of self or to a significant other.
Because this can feel real for the person there can be bodily sensations with increased tension where the person avoids to cope, checks and seeks reassurance; all of which are not long term resolutions.
These cycles can be time absorbing, energy absorbing, effect relationships (especially the relationship with self), exhausting and more….
So, if you were wondering how health anxiety differs from general anxiety, I hope the summary above makes it a little clearer , hence the label in the name; it is more about when you are worrying about your own health or the health of somebody else.
Health Anxiety & COVID-19:
Although these times are different from what I might have been advising more than six months ago as it is a normal reaction to feel anxious about COVID-19 or any potential real threat to life.
So it is still partly about separating what is rationale from irrational but the more recent virus situation is still greatly unknown but it will become more so known with the passing of time just like past viruses or illnesses that have initially impacted on the world population.
So, for now to keep Health Anxiety simple, let us focus on the old health anxiety as “general health anxiety” which I believe has its roots in childhood or earlier life experiences. I will help you to uncover the event and make positive steps to getting break your personal vicious cycle.
Although general health anxiety may impact on your feelings within the current virus situation and vice-versa causing a little more complicated dynamic on the surface, however, underneath the surface where the roots are is where to begin with the therapeutic treatment plan would be the same.
I focus on the unique individual’s past experiences, as well as the alleviating the current symtoms utilising the natural strengths to benefit the wellbeing of the person so they can move forward feeling stronger, more insightful, more liberated to build a positive cycle of building a whole host of good feelings that allows the natural healing process to happen for a new strengthened you.
If you feel anxious about your health generally, or if you feel the current virus situation is causing you to struggle with your functioning, then please feel free to contact me to discuss, taking advantage of my complimentary pre-initial informal assessment, so that I can help you to pave your therapeutic pathway forward. I will be delighted to hear from you! (Call)