We all worry about our health, and sometimes we have every right to do so. However, sometimes this can spiral into hypochondria, now known as an ‘illness anxiety disorder’ that means your worry borders into obsessive paranoia. The irony is, your worried thoughts can lead to a physical health condition, so while there may have been nothing wrong with you, physical symptoms of stress will begin to show.
So, are you a hypochondriac? If the following signs are familiar to you, then you may be suffering from the disorder. However, don’t let this stretch your paranoia further. Counselling prescribed by your GP will help, so hopefully, he won’t be annoyed by yet another call you have made to him today.
Google is your best friend
Google is wonderful, but it can also be problematic. It is no substitute for a doctor, yet many of us rely on the Internet to find out what is wrong with us. We may only have a temporary headache or a harmless rash, but a quick search on Google may convince us we have some deadly tropical disease. Don’t jump to conclusions. It’s okay to Google ‘urgent care near me’ if you are sure you are in need of healthcare, and common sense tells us to seek help just to be sure. However, you will cause yourself to go a little crazy as well as your doctor if you create needless anxiety over something that is only very small.
You worry about getting sick (despite feeling okay)
You’re fine today, but that doesn’t mean you won’t fall desperately ill tomorrow. Perhaps a woman sneezed next to you on your daily commute, signalling the end of your good health. Doom and gloom befall you at every turn, and you are convinced you are going to fall ill, eventually. Well, we all get ill, but if you constantly worry about everything eventuality that is going to affect your health; even though you feel fine at the moment, you will only make yourself sick with worry.
Every ache and pain means the worst
We all feel aches and pains – it’s natural, especially with age. However, if your mind automatically thinks of the worst (even without the help of the Internet), you are probably jumping to conclusions. Our body is prone to all kinds of problems, but some of them are only temporary and not life-threatening diseases. Don’t assume the default answer is your imminent demise if you only have a headache. Chances are high that some of the aches and pains are because of the anxiety you put yourself through. The only tablet you need to take is a ‘chill pill.’
You need a second and third opinion
So your doctor has said you are perfectly fine and there is nothing to worry about. You go home, yet the nagging doubt persists. What if they don’t know what they’re talking about? Admittedly, they do make mistakes occasionally, so it’s reasonable to get a second opinion occasionally. But a third opinion? And even a fourth? If your ‘illness’ can be explained by the doctor with some degree of certainty, you are probably fine. If symptoms persist, then by all means get another opinion, but give them (and yourself) a break if you start to feel better.
Hypochondria is serious, and you may need help with the condition. The excessive and often needless worry will make you ill. Seek help for the problem, and with counselling you may discover the ‘real’ reasons behind the way you feel.