Many physicians have had the following experience, patient come to the clinic with a bunch of test reports, they ask to be ruled out for a certain disease.
After being told that there was nothing wrong with these tests and regular reexaminations were all right, the patients were still not assured. Some even went to multiple hospitals repeatedly for treatment in order to rule out a suspicious disease and did many repeated tests. The doctor is helpless.
Always suspected that he was seriously ill, is it a disease?
Illness anxiety disorder, also known as hypochondria, is an excessive worry that you have or may have a serious illness. Patients may have no physical symptoms, or they may take normal bodily sensations or minor malaise as signs of a serious illness, even if the systematic medical examination does not detect a serious illness.
1. What are the symptoms of illness anxiety disorder?
Always worrying/suspecting that you are seriously ill.
Patients have few specific maladies, and if some physical maladies occur, they are usually normal physical sensations (e.g., orthostatic vertigo), benign, self-limiting dysfunction (e.g., transient tinnitus), or maladies that are not usually directly related to the disease (e.g., hiccups). But patients often see it as a sign of serious illness.
If someone in the family has a disease, they worry excessively that they will also have it.
When they hear about someone getting sick or see similar news reports, they feel panic.
The patient therefore has repeated medical examination, even if the test result is negative or the doctor judges the body is healthy, they still cannot feel reassured; For example, if the doctor tells him "it's all right", instead of alleviating his worry, it may aggravate his worry: "Is the doctor trying to comfort me?" (Some patients go to the other extreme, afraid to go to the hospital for tests for fear of actually being diagnosed with a disease.).
They are constantly talking about health and possible diseases; Repeatedly check the Internet for the cause of your symptoms or possible ailments. And constantly seek comfort from family, friends, or a doctor.
In some cases, an excessive fear of illness can cause patients to be afraid to visit sick relatives or friends and refuse to participate in exercise, which they fear may harm their health.
2. What are the adverse effects of illness anxiety disorder?
This constant worry often depresses those around you, especially family members, and can lead to conflict within the family.
Poor performance or excessive absenteeism;
Affect interpersonal communication;
Restricted function of daily living;
Too many visits to the hospital can lead to financial problems.
3. What are the causes of illness anxiety disorder?
The exact cause of illness anxiety disorder is not known, but the following factors can increase the risk of illness anxiety disorder:
Personality prone to anxiety.
Serious illness in childhood or serious illness for the parents.
The experience of being abused as a child.
4. When should I see a doctor for illness anxiety disorder?
According to the diagnostic criteria of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), it takes six months for symptoms to be diagnosed as illness anxiety disorder. Since these symptoms can cause physical discomfort, interfere with relationships, disrupt family life, and harm professional performance, it is recommended to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
5. What can patients do on their own?
Stop scouring the Internet for possible diseases. The flood of health information, whether related to the condition or not, can lead to confusion and anxiety. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of concern.
Learn to recognize when you feel stressed and implement stress management and relaxation methods on a regular basis. Learning stress management and relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, may help reduce anxiety.
Stay physically active. Having an activity plan can help calm your mood, reduce anxiety, and help improve your physical functioning.
Get involved in work, social and family activities.
Stick to a treatment plan to prevent symptoms from recurring or worsening.