Health Anxiety Therapy & Counselling
Health Anxiety is characterised by an almost constant pre-occupation with your own health and that you might be ill.
For many sufferers this will take the form of constantly reviewing of how you feel.
This 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:
- Persistent feelings of general anxiety.
- A constant pre-occupation with your health.
- Frequent checking of body shape for any lumps, bumps or skin problems.
- Constantly seeking reassurance from friends, family or health professionals that you are not ill.
- Spending lots of time researching signs and symptoms on the internet.
- Avoid physical activity so as not to put a strain on your heart.
- Worrying about the idea of dying (Thanatophobia).
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.
The psychiatric system regards health anxiety as a disorder that is caused by some sort of underlying biological fault that produces the symptoms, although this cause has never been identified.
The psychological modelling of emotional distress (used here at Lee Psychology) regards health anxiety as being caused by things that have happened during a person’s life and how they have made sense of them.
Consequently, almost any experience can be interpreted in a way that leads to worries and anxiety about our 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 health anxiety, psychological therapy and counselling provide drug-free solutions to the problem 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 anxiety on the following links:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Health Anxiety
- The CORE programme for Health Anxiety
- Counselling for Health Anxiety
- Hypnotherapy for Health Anxiety
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.