How to Stop Being a Hypochondriac

Also called health anxiety or illness anxiety disorder, hypochondria is an anxiety disorder that makes you worry excessively about your health. Some people worry too much that they are seriously ill even though they have no physical symptoms. They just cannot ignore normal body sensations and minor symptoms, and take them as indicators of a serious illness. Living with hypochondria keeps you from focusing on other things happening in your life. To live a healthy life, you need to understand how to stop being a hypochondriac. 

Symptoms of Hypochondria

The major symptom is that you will be preoccupied with the idea that your health is not good because of your normal body sensations such as a noisy stomach or minor symptoms such as a minor rash. Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Becoming seriously concerned about your health status
  • Not feeling well even after negative test results or doctor's reassurance
  • Being overly concerned about developing a condition that runs in your family
  • Not being able to take part in activities because you keep thinking about possible illnesses
  • Constantly looking for signs of illness
  • Avoiding medical care because you worry about being diagnosed with an illness
  • Avoiding places, people, and activities for fear of health risks
  • Constantly worrying, thinking, and talking about possible illnesses
  • Surfing the internet just to look for symptoms of possible illnesses

How to Stop Being a Hypochondriac

Illness anxiety disorder can affect the quality of your life, so it is important to learn how to stop being a hypochondriac. Here are some recommendations.

1. Set Commitment to Healing

One of the most important thing for hypochondriacs is to recognize there are some problems and to have commitment to treat these problems. It is never easy for them to have such commitment because they are usually so sure that there is something wrong with their health. The person who is responsible to treat hypochondriacs have to convince them that the brain can affect the body, and it can also have huge influence on whether the body will heal or not.

2. Receive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy usually includes cognitive restructuring, exposure therapy, and relaxation training. In case of hypochondria, CBT focuses more on cognitive restructuring and relaxation training. Cognitive training involves developing an understanding of how to replace negative beliefs and thoughts with positive ones. Relaxation training involves using tools to combat feelings of obsessive thoughts, anxiety, and the need to be diagnosed with an illness. Relaxation training may also involve visualization routines, breathing exercises, and grounding techniques.

3. Take Medications

How to stop being a hypochondriac? Some medication can help. Your doctor may give you selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to help treat your condition. Antidepressants work because sometimes depression is associated with hypochondria. You may become depressed after losing a loved one and this can lead to hypochondria. Some people become hypochondriacs when they have a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder with their body. Moreover, the serotonin makes it easier for people to focus more on positive thoughts to keep the anxiety under control.

4. Do Yoga

Yoga helps prevent muscle aches and twinges that make you feel worried about your health. It also makes it easier for you to understand how to handle certain symptoms of anxiety such as shortness of breath and rapid heart rate. It also strengthens your cardiovascular system and improves your overall health.

5. Avoid Searching the Internet for Illnesses

Keep yourself from using the internet to look for what might be the underlying cause of certain symptoms you are experiencing. Many information you are reading online is about worst-case scenarios which will only make you become more worried. Replace the symptoms you are searching with something else such as an animal's name to keep your mind diverted.

6. Pay Attention to Your Diet

What you eat will always have an impact on how you feel about yourself. You should try to avoid oily, fatty, or high-sugar foods, as they can affect your mood in a negative way and also cause stomachaches and other digestive problems. Eating healthy foods will prevent these sensations and let you be in control of your situation.

7. Get Adequate Sleep

A good night's sleep will help maintain both psychological and physical health. Maintaining a sleep schedule also improve positive thinking and decrease the discomforts appeared at night. It may take a while to fall asleep when you are anxious, but you can train your mind and body. Stick to a bedtime routine, like going to bed at a set time, drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed, or reading a chapter from your favorite book.

8. Work with Your Doctor

When self-care measures do not produce positive results, you have to talk with your doctor to learn how to stop being a hypochondriac. Ask your doctor how often you should visit them. Be sure to have a trusting relationship with your healthcare provider and discuss setting limits on tests, referrals, and evaluations. Do not change doctors too often, as seeking advice from multiple healthcare providers can make you more anxious. 

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