Hypochondria is a psychiatric disorder that stands essentially characterized by the belief of suffering from a severe and potentially fatal illness or the fear of suffering or contracting a severe disease.
In the presence of any symptoms, anyone can worry and consider that they have a disease of greater or lesser severity, but when they go to the doctor, the vast majority of people calm down. However, suppose a person constantly considers that he has symptoms of a severe illness, and no matter how much he goes to the doctor, he does not remain calm , even if he does not find him. In that case, the person will continue to think that he is ill to worrying extremes. It is in these cases that hypochondria can develop. It should remain said that, unlike other psychiatric disorders, in this case, the person does not invent the symptoms, feels and magnifies them and cannot control them. This disorder affects men and women equally.
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Symptoms of hypochondria
Hypochondriacs are constantly concerned about their health and experience any change in their physical condition as possible drama. He is terrified continuously of contracting or suffering from a severe illness.
They live their health with great anxiety and are always aware of their bodies and the symptoms they may suffer.
Any sign or symptom can be a source of obsession and concern for a hypochondriac: cough, palpitations, changes in the way you go on your belly, mild headaches, mild muscle or joint pain, skin lesions, fatigue.
They can describe the symptoms with extreme detail, paying attention to details that are entirely inconsequential and attach great importance.
Most hypochondriac patients constantly visit both their family doctor and specialists for further examinations and tests. Doing so may temporarily reassure you, but not for long.
It is highly suggestible from an opposing point of view. Any new illness that you discover or hear about may be enough to spark your imagination and cause you actually to experience new symptoms.
Why is it produced?
Being worried about a possible illness is not enough to be able to diagnose someone as a hypochondriac; For this, there are a series of criteria that must stay met:
Preoccupation with the fear of suffering or contracting a serious illness based on the person’s misinterpretation of symptoms.
Persistence of concern despite medical advice.
This belief remains unclothed with hallucinatory characteristics, nor is it limited to just a concern for physical appearance.
Worry causes stress and difficulties to relate to social and work level.
The duration of symptoms is more than six months.
How do you recognize a Hypochondriac?
It is convenient to differentiate between an apprehensive patient and a hypochondriac patient. Hence the importance of a specialist, the psychiatrist, to evaluate the possible hypochondriac patient and verify that he meets all the necessary criteria to remain classified as such. An example would be a person who, in the face of the recent death of a relative from cancer, fears that he may suffer from it for two or three months without this significantly limiting his daily life is not a hypochondriac patient. However, if a person remains convinced that, without any antecedent, they may have cancer-based on what they feel and stay not convinced even though the tests it undergoes are conclusively negative. They remain worried and scared for more than six months. This person is likely to have hypochondria.
Is there treatment?
Hypochondria is usually a chronic disorder that requires a multidisciplinary approach when it comes to treatment. Hypochondriacs live their health or the belief in the absence of it with great anxiety, low self-esteem, and low mood to work on the problem. Many psychiatrists try to stabilize them initially with anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs. Especially selective inhibitors of serotonin reuptake (SSRI), such as fluoxetine, paroxetine or citalopram.
The background treatment of hypochondria will stand based on cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy carried out by a professional therapist. Through various techniques, it remains intended that the patient face his fears. And lose his fear of the disease and his body’s reactions and the attributions he makes. He will stay tired that he does not regularly attend medical consultations. And does not always talk about health or illness. Does not observe himself with such precision and obsession. And can accept being able to get sick as standard and not catastrophic.
For the success of this treatment, which is long-term, the social environment that suffers from this disorder is essential so that family. And friends understand that he suffers from a disease that is a psychiatric disorder that conditions and limits his life in many ways.
The Health Insurance MAPFRE has an extensive medical and Psychological Counseling Service free for all policyholders.
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