Tuesday 3rd March
Everyone has worried about their health at least once in their life and many of us worry about our health a lot more. In some ways this can be beneficial as it is a reminder for us to take care of ourselves, eat healthily, get regular check-ups and exercise.
However, occasionally the worry takes over and the anxiety to be reassured becomes all consuming. If you find yourself worrying about your health a lot of the time, with no medical reason to do so, this is probably because your fear is irrational, and you have a health anxiety problem. This does not mean that it can be an easy thing just to tell yourself it’s irrational and to stop worrying; after all, no one would choose to feel this way and if it was that easy, you would already have done so.
In addition to the worry about being ill, a person with health anxiety tends to be checking their body for symptoms or abnormalities. This self-inspection usually results in finding lumps, bumps and marks which you may not have noticed before, ultimately creating more anxiety than before.
Sometimes a health anxious person may feel compelled to check their pulse rate or blood pressure. A good reading is able to relieve the worry momentarily, however it then leads to further urges to check. Others will find a need to check up on symptoms by looking up information or by constant visits to see a GP.
Often a person with health anxiety is told by those who don’t understand the problem, that it is, ‘all in your head’. This can unsurprisingly lead to greater distress and frustration for the person as the feelings are real for them, yet seem to be being minimised by others. Spells of dizziness, headaches, tingling, tightness around the chest and breathing changes are common physical symptoms in health anxiety.
Medication that may be prescribed by your doctor includes antidepressant medication if you have a co-existing problem with low mood. Sometimes a beta blocker will be prescribed to help to reduce symptoms of rapid heartbeat or tremor. However, treating your symptoms with medication is not always the answer and the possible benefits of medication always need to be weighed against the potential negative effects.« Back to News & Blog