All About Health Anxiety and How to Overcome it with Psychological Therapy & Counselling
What is Health Anxiety?
Health Anxiety is characterised by an almost constant pre-occupation with your own health and that you might be ill.
This may take the form of constantly reviewing how you feel.
This anxiety problem was previously known as Hypochondria.
You may become hyper-vigilant and spend hours in a state of high alert monitoring your body for signs such as heart palpitations, aches and pains, headaches and so on.
Additionally, you may also make frequent visits to your local accident and emergency hospital in the belief that you need urgent medical attention.
These visits will often end with reassurance from hospital staff that there is nothing wrong with you and that you are safe to go home.
Despite these reassurances, however, you may continue to believe that you have something wrong with you that the doctors are missing.
It is always possible, of course, that the doctors ARE missing something, but most of the time, this will not be the case.
Health Anxiety Symptoms
Because health anxiety is primarily focused on physical health it often involves symptoms that involve monitoring and checking which may, at times, become obsessive in nature.
Your symptoms may include:
- Preoccupation with bodily sensations: People with health anxiety often become fixated on minor bodily sensations or changes, such as heart palpitations, headaches, or stomach discomfort, and interpret them as signs of a serious illness.
- Checking for signs of illness: Health anxiety can cause a person to constantly check their body for signs of illness, such as lumps, bumps, or discolorations.
- Seeking reassurance: People with health anxiety may seek reassurance from doctors, friends, or family members that they are not sick, but may still struggle to believe that they are not ill.
- Avoidance of situations or activities: Health anxiety can cause a person to avoid situations or activities that they believe could trigger or exacerbate their symptoms, such as exercise, travel, or social events.
- Anxiety and depression: Health anxiety can be accompanied by feelings of depression, and can have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life.
- Excessive use of medical resources: People with health anxiety may visit doctors or emergency rooms frequently, undergo unnecessary medical tests, or take excessive amounts of medication.
- Inability to accept reassurance: Even if doctors tell them they are healthy, people with health anxiety may struggle to accept this and may continue to believe they are sick.
You may have some or all of these symptoms or you may have other symptoms that are not listed here.
What Causes Health Anxiety?
The answer to this question depends on how we think about health anxiety as a problem.
Psychiatry regards health anxiety as a disorder that is caused by a biological fault that produces the symptoms, although this cause has never been identified.
The psychological model regards it as being caused by things that have happened in your life and how you have made sense of them.
Consequently, almost any experience can be interpreted in a way that leads to worries and anxiety about your health, for example:
- Losing a close relative to illness or accident.
- Early childhood ill health.
and so on.
Despite these different ways of thinking about the problem, psychological therapy and counselling provide drug-free solutions and are generally regarded as effective.
Therapy & Counselling for Health Anxiety
We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for health anxiety and related problems.
Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:
- How long you have had the problem.
- Your personal preferences.
- How your problem is affecting you today.
You can read more about the different types of therapy for health anxiety on the following links:
Although all therapies use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.
Research suggests that this therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.
Could Reality Therapy Be Right For You?
Reality Therapy is an approach which argues that your health anxiety problems are the result of the way that you think internally and not the result of any kind of external influence such as real physical pathology or illness.
It also argues that any past experiences which you may believe are the cause of your anxiety are no longer influential because those situations are no longer happening and therefore do not exist.
By teaching you how to take responsibility for the way that you feel, Reality Therapy can help you to stop creating the anxiety and stress associated with your hypochondria as well as significantly improve the sense of control you have over the trajectory of your life going forward.
Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.
During this consultation we will discuss your particular issues and the different types of mental health counselling we offer without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.
The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.
Links to More Information
These links take you to other resources on the web.
Applied Psychology Solutions
If you’d like to learn how to overcome your health anxiety problems but dislike the idea of having “therapy”, then why not learn how to change the way you make sense of your experiences with the CORE Programme.
If you believe that your problems are the result of what has happened to you and not because there is something wrong with you, then this is the solution you’ve been looking for.
Not Ready to Commit to Therapy Quite Yet?
Then why not see if you can solve your own problems using our comprehensive, Online Self-Help CBT course.
Written especially for people who prefer not to engage with a therapist before doing everything they can to overcome their problems.
Mirroring our in-house course of CBT, it contains everything that you need to know to tackle mental health challenges for only £149.
We offer counselling for health anxiety problems for people living in:
- West Midlands
- South Staffordshire
You can also access our services around the World using online therapy with Paul.