Also known as hypochondria or illness anxiety, health anxiety is an obsession and irrational worry about having a serious medical problem, even though everything is perfectly fine. It’s all about a person’s imagination of the physical symptoms of illness.
Sometimes, people suffer from health anxiety because they misinterpret minor or normal body sensations as serious disease symptoms.
Generally, people who have a poor understanding of body sensations and diseases or both, a family member or members excessively worried about their health or experienced real serious illness in the past suffer from health anxiety. These are a few categories defined by medical professionals. But, the thing is the number of people suffering from health anxiety is increasing, due to recent pandemics of i Monkeypox and COVID-19.
Monkeypox and COVID-19- The two major reasons for health anxiety in the present situation
Cases of COVID-19 have decreased but not gone completely. Every day, people are getting infected and adding to the numbers. So, people are worried about their health, especially those who have been previously affected.
After three waves of COVID-19, people have understood how to stay safe and prevent themselves from getting infected by the virus. But, still, many people are not satisfied and feel they will get infected and suffer from severe consequences. This thought or fear leads to health anxiety. Even after following precautions and getting assurance from health professionals, people think possible infection which leads to health anxiety.
Although the story of COVID-19 isn’t over, monkeypox has marked its entry. The outbreak of monkeypox has increased health anxiety levels in people and their conditions have become worse. The fear of getting infected is always there in the minds of the people, making things difficult for them and deteriorating their health condition.
Due to monkeypox and COVID-19, health anxiety has increased.
How can you overcome health anxiety?
It’s difficult but not impossible. Psychotherapy is advised to manage cases of health anxiety.
Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is very effective in treating health anxiety. Under the guidance of a BABCP therapist, you learn skills to overcome health anxiety during the CBT session. You can either attend CBT individually or in a group.
The benefits of CBT are:
- Identifies the reasons for health anxiety
- Learns different ways to look at your body sensations by changing not-so-helpful thoughts
- Raises awareness on how health anxiety affects the behavior
- Learns skills to cope with health anxiety and to avoid situations because of physical sensations
- Boosts your functioning and performance at home and work
Other forms of psychotherapy, behavioral stress management, and exposure therapy, are also used to treat health anxiety.
Generally, health anxiety improves with psychotherapy alone and only this treatment is used to treat the condition. But, if you don’t respond and your condition gets worse, the doctors recommend medications such as antidepressants.
Medications aren’t commonly recommended because some of them come with serious risks and side effects. So, it’s better to visit one of the best BABCP therapists in London for psychotherapy.