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Health Anxiety


What is Health Anxiety:

Health Anxiety, also known as Hypochondriasis, Somatic Symptom Disorder, or Illness Anxiety Disorder, is commonly associated with obsessions or fears of being seriously or terminally ill, or fearing catastrophic outcomes from either real but benign medical issues (e.g., food allergies, headaches, etc), or when there are no medical symptoms present whatsoever. Often, the individual will misread minor symptoms as something serious or life-threatening and search for reassurance, or avoid any situations or triggers that they believe caused the minor symptoms. Individuals with health anxiety may frequently visit or switch health care providers to provide relief. They may seek out information about their disease even though they already know the information. Others may feel more susceptible to disease and avoid healthcare providers for fear of receiving bad news.

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  • Being preoccupied with having or getting a serious disease or health condition
  • Worrying that minor symptoms or body sensations mean you have a serious illness
  • Being easily alarmed about your health status
  • Finding little or no reassurance from negative test results or a doctor’s reassurance that you’re healthy
  • Worrying excessively about a specific medical condition or your risk of developing a medical condition because it runs in your family
  • Having so much distress about possible illnesses that it’s hard for you to function
  • Repeatedly checking your body for signs of illness
  • Frequently making medical appointments for reassurance
  • Avoiding medical care for fear of being diagnosed with a serious illness
  • Avoiding people, places, or activities for fear of health risks
  • Constantly talking about your health and possible illnesses
  • Frequently searching the Internet for causes of symptoms or possible illnesses
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