Hypochondria is a disease that if not properly dealt with can be hugely restricting to your life. Simply, people suffering from hypochondria are preoccupied by an overwhelming feeling that they are suffering from an illness. This can lead to a loss of confidence, depression and can even create physical symptoms.
Regardless of how many tests come back negative or how much reassurance an individual suffering from hypochondria receives, they will still be convinced that they are sick. This can make life virtually unliveable. Although some serious cases will require professional psychiatric care, there are certain steps you can take to help ease niggling feelings of dread that come with a mild form of the illness.
1. Don’t Delay Visiting the GP
Hypochondria can develop gradually over time and become a serious condition if not nipped in the bud. Illness is a reality of life and it is thus not unusual to be afraid of getting sick. This is especially true for anyone who has grown up around serious disease. The media doesn’t help either, as we are constantly reminded of the frailties of the human body and the dangers out in the world.
By visiting a GP as soon as you start to have such fears and insisting on certain tests, you can attempt to nip the problem in the bud. You must, however, accept the opinion of professionals and not fall into the trap of convincing yourself something is wrong. If, despite receiving a multitude of negative results, you are still suffering, you should consider visiting a psychiatrist.
2. Yoga and Meditation
Hypochondria is fundamentally anxiety-based, and thus, anything that helps to calm anxiety, generally, too will help with hypochondria. Yoga and meditation is a great tool for anyone suffering from mild hypochondria. As it is focused on both mind and body, it can improve your understanding of the latter and help to calm the prior. There are plenty of centres located around the UK, or if you want to practice alone to begin with, you can either purchase a DVD or simply search online. Even if it can’t dispel your hypochondria completely, yoga and meditation will certainly equip you with new tools to cope with the associated anxiety.
Despite the quantity of resources easily available to people these days – with the internet and digital television – there are still some basic things that remain unspoken. If you are suffering from any form of health anxiety or hypochondria, the number one best thing to do is communicate. Speak to a friend or family member, if you are too nervous to go to the doctor. You may discover that the lump you are feeling is perfectly normal and you don’t need to worry. Even if there does happen to be a problem, reaching out to a loved one can be a great first step in dealing with the issue.
4. Don’t Self Diagnose
Another major trend in people suffering from hypochondria is to self diagnose. The internet has exasperated this problem further and now it is easy for anyone to browse a whole list of conditions online. The reality is that no-one can know what is wrong with you unless they are able to physically examine you. Almost any symptom will link to a serious illness, like cancer or HIV, when it can be nothing more than an infection or simply anxiety. Steer clear of self-diagnosing, as it will only make your anxiety worse.
5. Practice Positive Thinking
Again, although this may be overly simplifying the condition, in mild cases practicing positive thinking can work wonders. Affirmations are a great approach – where you repeat positive beliefs over and over to yourself until they are instilled within your natural mindset. In the case of hypochondria, this could be something like – “I am happy and healthy”, or “Today, I feel great”. Whatever it is that you choose to affirm, just remember that it has to focus solely on the positive – never tell yourself not to do something.
Positive thinking is important both in sickness and in health, and can be a truly vital component of maintaining your wellbeing.
To book appointments today with a GP please call Broadgate GP on 020 7638 4330 – Same day appointments available.