Health Anxiety Therapy
Health anxiety/hypochondria is when you worry that you have an illness or that you will get an illness. Like a lot of anxiety disorders an individual with health anxiety can engage in a lot of safety behaviours. This could be doing something such as checking the internet for symptoms, going to their GP on a regular basis or constantly monitoring their symptoms. This is usually done because the individual is worried that they will miss something important. However, by engaging in these behaviours it actually maintains the symptoms.
You may have symptoms of health anxiety if you:
- Constantly worry about your health
- Check your body for any signs of illness or get others to check
- Ask people for reassurance that you are healthy
- Question your doctors ability that they might have missed something
- Search the internet for symptoms of illnesses
- Visit the GP or emergency services on a regular basis
- Avoid medical TV programmes or medical booklets
Symptoms of anxiety can make people think they are unwell and you mistake these symptoms for an illness.
In CBT we will look to identify these behaviours and conduct experiments to reduce them and document the outcome. By exposing you to the feared consequence and documenting the outcome, an individual can habituate, meaning that something that was previously stressful, is no longer impacting them and they will no longer need to engage in the safety behaviour.