Psychology Chartered

How To Cope With Health Anxiety

Posted by Elliot Miller

26th March 2018

By Nina Kaminska

Health anxiety, also known as Hypochondria, is an epidemic estimated to cost the NHS £420 million each year. This relates to a person who is abnormally anxious about their health, and becomes unduly alarmed about any physical or psychological symptoms that they detect, no matter how minor their symptoms may be. Often this means that feelings of bone aches, pins and needles, shooting pains, dizziness, palpitations, muscle spasms or body jolts will impose a strong feeling of anxiety or paranoia around such symptoms.

Characteristically, someone with health anxiety will then go to Google search their symptoms and attempt to find answers in terms of what illness their symptoms may match up to. In reality, someone struggling with health anxiety does not suffer from any kind of illness; instead a Hypochondriac reinforces such ideas by negative thoughts and beliefs or what they have read on the internet.

So, how and in what ways can someone struggling with Hypochondriasis, or Hypochondriac tendencies, cope with their anxiety?

These are 7 vital tips in reducing or coping with anxiety:

  1. Most importantly, someone struggling with health anxiety should discontinue their obsessive search on the internet, on what their symptoms may mean. This will put an end to investing your time and energy into things that will ultimately make you feel upset, agitated or worried.
  2. Secondly, talking to the people you trust and getting out to the real world, will help in overcoming negative thoughts as you will be surrounded by people who will show you support. This includes family, friends or even a co-worker.
  3. Third of all, avoiding alcohol and caffeine will help in easing any more unnecessary anxiety such as hangover paranoia. Maintaining a well-balanced, healthy diet will put your mind and body at ease.
  4. Furthermore, try to turn sabotaging thoughts into logical thinking. It may appear as though your symptoms may mean something, yet if you try to write down things which support your self-diagnosis, and things which disprove it, you may be able to apply some objective logic.
  5. Another way you could cope with your health anxiety is through not feeling guilty about having it. Nowadays it is easy to compare yourself to others and feel shameful, yet sometimes it just takes some time to pull yourself back together.
  6. Additionally, try to remember that anxiety can create physical symptoms such as shortness of breath or a tight chest, however despite being unpleasant, these symptoms cannot inflict any real harm to you.
  7. It is also important to bear in mind that if you do decide to see your GP and they tell you to pull yourself together or get over it, go and see a different one. You need to make sure that the people you come in contact with will have a positive influence on you, and it is best to move on from the negative ones.

For more information visit: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/18/i-couldnt-sit-still-i-couldnt-be-on-my-own-how-i-coped-with-my-crippling-anxiety