Health anxiety—which is characterized by worrying that one is ill (even when no symptoms or only minor symptoms are present) is more common than you may think, as it affects up to 5% of people. This figure is high enough, yet, as noted by Harvard academics, the number may be closer to 12% or 24%, since health anxiety is thought to be underreported.
If you find that you are constantly worried that your health is in danger or you frequently conduct research into illnesses you think you may have, you may have health anxiety. If so, take your fear by the horns and stop it from interfering with your happiness and quality of life.
Know What You’re Up Against
There are many reasons why you may have developed health anxiety. These include trauma such as bullying, neglect, or abuse. Having a family history of anxiety disorders could also be involved.
A recent illness or death of someone you love can also make you focus on your health, as can having health concerns from a young age. If you have experienced health problems, then you may be afraid that they have returned or that you have developed new issues.
Seeking Professional Help
Get answers instead of worrying. Being fully informed of your state of health is the first step towards obtaining a diagnosis of health anxiety. Talk to your doctor about any symptoms you may be having so they can prescribe any tests you may need to rule out illness. If your results indicate you have the all-clear, opt for the ‘gold standard’ treatment for health anxiety: cognitive behavioral therapy.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and How Can it Help?
Cognitive behavioral therapy reveals the vital link between how we think, feel, and behave. The way we think or feel about a situation, for instance, can make it scary (even if it isn’t inherently so).
CBT aims to help people overcome their fears by correcting irrational thoughts and suggesting alternative behaviors—which, in turn, can have a positive effect on the way people think and feel. CBT is effective and relatively brief in duration. In 12 to 20 sessions, you can expect to notice a substantial improvement.
Righting Past Wrongs
Once you feel more in control of your anxiety, you may decide to take legal action if, for instance, a past illness was caused by medical negligence. Doing so can benefit you in two ways. It can result in the receipt of due compensation (which can pay for any psychological therapy you may need) and enable you to feel more empowered.
Some of the best medical negligence lawyers in the US report that often, a successful judgment can make a big difference in terms of their client’s motivation to progress towards a state of better health.
Embracing Holistic Activities
If you have any type of anxiety—including health anxiety—it is important to learn natural stress reduction techniques with a proven track record. Study after study has shown that holistic pursuits such as yoga, meditation, and spending time in nature are all powerful means to lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Controlled breathing is a vital technique that can help you curb an anxiety attack in its tracks. It can instantly lower your heart rate and stop you from breathing in too much oxygen and experiencing an episode of hyperventilation.
Health anxiety can affect up to 24% of people in the US. It can result in an intense fear of being ill, even when symptoms are minor or absent. To battle this condition, seek medical help and find ways to boost your sense of empowerment. Finally, make natural stress relief part of your daily schedule.