How to Handle Living With Hypochondria

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Hypochondria is a serious mental health disorder that, at times throughout the years, has been minimized or made fun of in modern media. The truth is that living with this disorder is certainly not comical and can actually be rather painful and overwhelming. If you struggle with hypochondria, you likely struggle with an intense and unavoidable fear of there being something wrong with you physically. To others, your fears may seem irrational, but to you, they may seem like very real and very terrifying possibilities.

Living with hypochondria can be extremely difficult and can take a major toll on your mental health. Some people turn to substance misuse to cope, while others struggle with thoughts of suicide or harming themselves. If you are in this situation, don’t lose hope. There is help available.

Understanding What Living With Hypochondria Is Like

If you struggle with hypochondria, you may find that you obsess over every single perceived symptom that you experience, no matter how minor it really is. For example, you may wake up with a headache and automatically convince yourself that you have a brain tumor or some other very serious disease. Or you may feel a strange sensation in your chest and convince yourself that you’re suffering from a heart attack.

It’s important to note that hypochondria is not always directed toward the individual struggling with the disorder; it can affect those close to them as well. For example, some parents may obsess over every symptom they believe their children may have, enduring incredible stress and anxiety as they convince themselves their child is suffering from something that they really aren’t.

The interesting thing about this type of mental disorder is that it often persists even after a medical diagnosis. For example, you may have multiple different doctors tell you that there’s nothing wrong with you but still are not able to stop worrying. This can really take a toll on your overall quality of life.

How Hypochondria Develops

You can develop hypochondria for virtually no determined reason at all. However, this mental illness often affects those that have been touched in a personal way by a serious physical illness. For example, they may have had a family member go through a life-threatening illness or may have even lost a loved one to some sort of disease. This can cause lasting trauma that they may carry with them as they go through life.

Hypochondria can also be genetic. In other words, if you have a direct family member who struggled with it, you may be more likely to develop it as well

Signs That You’re Living With Hypochondria

Everyone’s experience with hypochondria is different, but there are some common signs to look out for. Do you experience the following symptoms?

  • Constantly stressing about medical problems
  • Overthinking common symptoms and minor illnesses
  • Seeking out unneeded medical tests to rule out possible health problems
  • Going to the doctor more than is necessary
  • Struggling to believe the doctor or test results when they find that nothing is wrong with you
  • Obsessively searching different signs and symptoms online
  • Having trouble focusing at school or work because you’re too busy worrying about potential health problems
  • Worrying too much about a family member who has only shown minor symptoms of illness
  • Having trouble sleeping due to excessive worry about potential health problems
  • Feeling anxiety or depression due to excessive worry about becoming ill
  • Turning to substance misuse to cope with health-related concerns

If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, there is a chance that you’re struggling with hypochondria and could benefit from treatment.

Treating Hypochondria

Living with hypochondria can be debilitating, but there is help available. If you feel that you’re struggling with this disorder, the first thing you should do is talk to your doctor about your symptoms. A medical professional can help provide you with a diagnosis and get you started with treatment.

Working with a therapist can help you to work through your worries and find relief. Some people also find relief from prescription medication. There are also some things that you can do on your own on a daily basis to ease your worries. One of the most important things is to not start searching online for your symptoms every time they arise.

Trying to find an answer to your health problems online can quickly become like going down a rabbit hole. You can easily convince yourself that you have a life-threatening illness when you’re really perfectly fine. A lot of people turn to the internet in hopes of finding a solution and ending their worries, only to end up with even greater concerns.

While this can be a hard cycle to break, the best thing you can do if you think you’re sick is to go to the doctor.

If you’ve watched a loved one go through a serious illness, it is only natural to worry about one day experiencing something similar. But when these worries begin to impact your day-to-day life and take away from your happiness, it can become a real problem. Hypochondria can quickly steal your joy, but it doesn’t have to. Reach out for help today and take your life back. Some people who struggle with this disorder turn to substance misuse to cope. If this is your situation, our team at The Kimberly Center can help. Call (855) 452-3683 today and a member of our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have about our services. 

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