10 Symptoms Of Hypochondria

Illness anxiety disorder is a mental condition where the patient worries excessively about becoming seriously ill, despite the fact that their symptoms do not warrant such a conclusion. This disorder is also known as hypochondria. However, the diagnostic manual published by the American Psychiatric Association no longer lists hypochondria as a diagnosis.

Instead of hypochondria, people are now diagnosed with illness anxiety disorder. In illness anxiety disorder, the patient is concerned about uncomfortable or unusual physical feelings being a sign of some serious medical problem.

Anxiety Attack

The main problem that people with illness anxiety disorder suffer from is the anxiety and stress itself. The distress reaches a point in which normal day to day functioning is compromised. This can be either because the distressing thoughts preoccupy the person or the person avoids normal life activities because of their fear of getting ill.

Illness anxiety disorder is a long-term condition that can vary in severity. It can get worse with age or with life stress. However, psychological therapy and possibly medication can treat the disorder.

There is a related disorder called somatic symptom disorder. In this disorder, the patient becomes preoccupied with the physical symptom itself. They might have pain or dizziness. However, the patient does not worry about the possibility that the symptoms underlying a more serious condition.

The precise cause of illness anxiety disorder isn’t well understood. However, the following factors might be involved:

  • Beliefs – The person might have an issue with experiencing uncertainty over uncomfortable or unusual bodily feelings. This may result in you thinking that all body sensations are serious.
  • Family – You might end up with the disorder if your parents had similar fears about their health or your health.
  • Past experience – If you have had a serious illness as a child, then unusual sensations may frighten you into believing that they are more serious than they actually are.

The Symptoms of Hypochondria

1. Preoccupied with Getting a Disease

Probably the most common symptom of hypochondria is the preoccupation with getting a serious disease. It should be remarked that everyone has the fear of getting a serious illness at some time or another. The difference here is that this fear becomes something that occupies the thoughts of the person in a way that interferes with their normal functioning. The thought is recurring and severe.

Also, we are not talking about a case where the person is suffering from very severe symptoms. In such a case, it may be rational to fear that you may have a serious illness.

Despite the fact that the fear that we are dealing with is irrational, the patient should go in for a medical evaluation to their physician to ensure that they do not have a serious illness. Sometimes, the intuition that a patient has is a good indication that something is seriously wrong with them. Their physician can tell by their behavior during the examination whether or not their suspicion of having a serious illness is justified. If the doctor feels that the patient is being irrational, they can refer them to a qualified mental health professional.