Am I a hypochondriac?
At times, you may find yourself consulting Dr. Google for a medical diagnosis when you are having a weird pain, experiencing a random rash or feeling like you are coming down with an unexpected sickness. You may convince yourself momentarily that you have some rare illness you found online according to your symptoms, but you eventually come around and let go of the fear.
“Some can’t easily let go of the fear and they are convinced they have a serious, undiagnosed illness that causes them anxiety. This is someone who is suffering from hypochondriasis,” said psychiatrist Casey Berson, MD.
Dr. Berson explained a hypochondriac is someone who misinterprets one or more bodily symptoms and believes they have a serious disease or are preoccupied with fear of a disease, despite appropriate medical evaluation and reassurance.
How can being a hypochondriac affect you negatively?
“Constant worry and thoughts about your health can be distressing and disruptive to your daily life,” said Dr. Berson. Aside from the physical complaints, hypochondriasis can result in:
- Frequent doctor’s appointments
- Lost time with family and friends
- Damage to personal relationships
What should you do if you find yourself constantly worried about your health?
Talk with your doctor about your constant worry and consider speaking with a mental health professional.
“A psychiatrist or therapist can work with you so the constant focus on your symptoms do not seem so overwhelming and do not take over your life,” said Dr. Berson. “They can help you to develop skills that put you back in control of your body and coordinate your care with your primary care doctor, whom you should be seeing regularly.”
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