2 Tips for Health Anxiety

Tips for health Anxiety

The clinical term for health anxiety used to be hypochondriasis, but now it’s been split into two disorders, somatic symptom disorder and illness anxiety disorder.

With health anxiety you are oversensitive to body sensations and fear you have a serious illness. The fear of having that illness overwhelms you and leads to you engaging in behaviours that keep the anxiety going. Many people realize their fears are irrational to some degree, but it’s like you can’t break out of the cycle of fear about it.

The key to getting past the health anxiety is being able to focus on the problems as being anxiety out of control rather than on getting proof or reassurance that you don’t have an illness. That reassurance is always short-lived. It’s like taking short cuts to avoid work. You may feel better in the short-term when you hear you don’t have the illness, but your distress eventually comes back because the real problem is your anxiety, not whether or not you have an illness.

Some researchers out of Sweden did a clinical trial testing CBT delivered by the internet. The results were that the internet therapy was equally effective as therapy delivered by face to face with a therapist. With the internet therapy, the participants worked with a therapist through brief email communications. But the bulk of the work was done by doing exercises.

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