What to Know About Health Anxiety
(How to Tell If Your Health Concerns Are Normal—Or a Sign of Something More)
In the past few years with the pandemic, rates of anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and depression have increased significantly. This has amounted to a great deal of worry and distress regarding health for one-self and family. “Especially during a pandemic, it’s normal to analyze your health. But for some people, those thoughts can cross a line into more problematic territory. At least 4% of the U.S. population lives with what’s known as health anxiety, or an excessive preoccupation with health and illness—and symptoms of the condition may have emerged or worsened for certain people during these virus-dominated recent years, experts say….. health anxiety has been formally known as “illness anxiety disorder” and is characterized by excessive worry about having or developing a serious disease, often even if tests don’t show anything wrong. People with this condition frequently become fixated on mild or routine physical sensations—fearing that a headache could be an early sign of a brain tumor, for example.” While in the past, the very “hypochondriasis” was used, it has become clear that people can experience heightened levels of distress without reaching a diagnosis. Some therapists have noted that those with OCD begin to ramp up their health searches on the internet (“cyberchondria”). The article provides some further insights into the type of effective therapy to help with the health anxiety. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) has been show to be the most effective therapeutic aid.
Time, September 20, 2022, by Jamie Ducharme
LINK TO RESOURCE
(Tiny URL) https://tinyurl.com/2dyypfj2
CLASS DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
•What is “health anxiety”? How is it related to OCD? What would be the symptom pattern used to diagnosis this problem?
•What are the possible ways that a Psychologist can be helpful for someone experiencing health anxiety?
•If you were giving a lecture for a class project, what type of examples would you provide to illustrate health anxiety?