Health Anxiety used to be called hypochondriasis, and is the fear of having or developing a serious illness that is undiagnosed or is missed/dismissed by doctors.
What does it feel like?
Often there are no (or very few) physical symptoms, but the preoccupation with illness is excessive. You may often check your body for signs and symptoms of a health issue and will google/research anything you believe is not right. You may often attend your GP, and request tests. This is something that will occur often and does not usually stop when doctors/tests do not confirm or find any physical cause. You may believe that the condition is serious enough to cause death or serious impairment in the future and do not get any long-term relief from reassurance. In some cases, you may actively avoid doctors, hospitals or anything medical (on the news etc) as this makes your anxiety about illness worse.
Usually the best treatment options for this difficulty are based around increasing your knowledge of the problem, having a better understanding of your thinking, and making some changes to your behaviour. The evidence suggested cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is usually the most effective treatment. We have a number of interventions that use CBT to help people overcome this problem including SilverCloud online CBT, the Stress and Mood Management course, and some of our one-to-one CBT-based interventions.
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