Hypochondria Series: What is Hypochondria? (Part 1/4)


Hello loves, ❤

If every headache or twinge in your toe sends you into a panic, then you may have already wondered how to know if you’re a hypochondriac. We can all relate to the desire to Google our weird bodily symptoms, and doing so occasionally is totally normal. But it can become a bit of a problem if your health is all you ever think about and the worry is overwhelming you.

Hypochondria, which is now called illness anxiety disorder, is defined as the excessive worry that you are or may become seriously ill. It’s not just the occasional worry over a true problem, but an all-consuming anxiety that causes you to constantly monitor your body, and often sends you running to the doctor.

Illness anxiety disorder needs to be persistent for at least six months before it’s considered a problem. And it can be triggered in a variety of ways, including a stressful life event, the threat of a serious illness (that turns out to not be serious), a childhood illness, having a parent with an illness, and excessive health-related Internet use.

Constantly worrying about your health can put a strain on your emotional well-being. After all, who wants to be fearing the worst all day long? But it can also affect other areas of your life. Relationships may suffer due to people getting fed up with your constant worry. It can cause problems at work, if you are constantly calling out or taking days off to go to the doctor. And it can create financial problems, since we all know doctor’s appointments, tests, and scans are far from free.

Before you convince yourself that you should add “hypochondriasis” to your list of ailments, take a moment to read the list below for some true signs that this may be a problem worth looking into.

  1. You Google Every Symptom You Have

Occasionally researching a few weird bodily symptoms is fine, but running to the computer every five seconds is not healthy. Hypochondriacs often cross the line from being prudent to being down right obsessive. Think of the last time you went on a Googling spree. You probably sent yourself down a rabbit hole of symptom checkers and Wiki pages about cancer, only to end up convinced you had the most serious tropical disease. While it’s important to be informed when it comes to your health, remind yourself of the needless anxiety you are creating, and try to save your questions for your next doctor’s appointment.

  1. You Are Convinced Minor Ailments Are Actually Horrible Diseases

People with an illness anxiety disorder are very tuned into their bodies, and that can be a bad thing. It’s normal to feel little aches and pains throughout the day, but hypochondriacs will immediately assume the worst. Rather than viewing your body functions as variable and involving occasional discomfort (aches, pains, headaches, nausea, dizziness), you believe that anything less than perfect functioning or feeling is a sign that you have a serious illness. But bodies and functions are not perfect. A headache is likely to be a sign of nothing special. But you may jump to conclusions because your default is death.

  1. You Feel Fine, But Constantly Worry About Getting Sick

If you feel fine, the dread that something may befall you at any moment can be just as sickening as the real thing. Perhaps your friend just came down with an illness, and even though you haven’t seen them in weeks, you’re now convinced you’ll catch it, too. In fact, it’s possible to become so distressed over a possible illness, that it can become difficult to function, according to the Mayo Clinic.

  1. You Keep Worrying, Even After A Doctor Says You’re OK

So you just got home from the doctor, and he gave you a clean bill of health, but it’s done nothing to shake your anxiety. Hypochondria includes the persistent fear of illness, despite reassurance from a health care provider. Those with illness anxiety disorder require near constant reassurance that they are healthy, so they may take their worries straight from their doctor’s appointment to lunch with friends. Their health may be the only thing they ever talk about, because the fear is constant and all-consuming.

  1. You Visit Multiple Doctors For Second Opinions

Since hypochondriacs are never quite convinced that they aren’t ill, they may go for second, third, or even fourth doctor’s opinions. They may be convinced the doctor missed something, or that another test or scan is necessary to prove they aren’t sick. Some people even shop around for different doctors until they find one that agrees they are seriously ill, according to WebMD. These constant doctor’s appointments can start to interfere with a person’s work, family, and social life. Oftentimes illness anxiety disorder will cause people to pull away from you, because they are tired of hearing you talk about your health. It can also cause financial problems, since the costs of exams and time off from work can add up quickly.

  1. You Are Convinced An Illness Will Progress

Generally a hypochondriac’s fear is disproportionate to what is actually going on, even if they are truly sick, according to the Cleveland Clinic. You may think something is life threatening when it’s not, or feel the need to constantly monitor yourself for signs of progression. This desire to “stand guard” 24/7 is a way of feeling like you are protecting yourself. If you have a long history of false predictions, doctor shopping, reassurance-seeking, and miserable worry, then you are not protecting yourself — you are harming yourself.

The symptoms of hypochondriasis go on and on, but the main points are:

  • a preoccupation with your health
  • excessive worry that you are or may become sick
  • the desire to constantly check yourself for illness.

It can become quite a serious problem in and of itself. So if this sounds like you, be sure to ask your doctor for ways to alleviate your anxiety.

I know for a fact that I know that this is something that I have to live with & learn to control. Find my anxiety story here, where I share my journey with you all ❤

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤

DYH Signature

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Discovering Your Happiness

Hello, my name is Anita, I am a 23 year old Croatian girl who loves reading self development books & following others blogs. Having said that, I have decided to create a site that consist of sharing my hobbies daily blogs, daily affirmations, healthy recipes, DIY projects, places I travel to etc. Discovering Your Happiness has a goal of sharing my happiness with you to help you discover your happiness also.

20 thoughts on “Hypochondria Series: What is Hypochondria? (Part 1/4)”

  1. This is incredibly useful information. Sometimes I go down the rabbit hole of Googling my symptoms and I could be two clicks away from cancer, or diabetes, 🙄 so reading this makes me feel normal. Now the real eye opener of this post was reading that the disorder needs to be persistent for at least six months before it’s considered a problem. This is a sigh o relief. Thank you so much! 💋♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. With this definition and the way the current health care system is, it’s no wonder those with anxiety are looked down up as paranoid. And it’s no wonder that so many anxiety disorders develop from medical issues or attitudes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad to see someone talking about this, as someone who is still learning how to live with it, it’s great to see someone shedding some light and talking about it in an honest and non-judgmental way. Great read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bless your soul ❤

      It is such a nasty thing to experience & I would love to share that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

      I feel this way too as do people above & below in the comments.

      it's a hard thing to live with & it is a hard thing to over come.

      WEBmd def gets a good run on my computer. I am constantly checking everything!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is, unfortunately, part of my bipolar spectrum. I’ve driven myself to financial ruin visiting doctor after doctor and repeated visits to the ER because my mind interprets almost any strange sensation as some terrible illness. It flits from thing to thing, as in one month I’ll be convinced I have Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, the next month I’ll be convinced I have cancer. Currently I’m worried about heart issues AND cancer. It seems never-ending. Thank you for addressing and posting this! I have been feeling as if I were the only one experiencing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this blog post ❤

      I would love to share by firstly saying… YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I promise!

      I also thought I was along until I started chatting around & A LOT of people like this ❤

      I am so sorry to hear you've been sending a lot of money on the doctor & tests.

      You are alive. You are healthy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I once thought I had a brain tumor for a whole month because one side of my head hurt so much I had to sleep it off. Went to an urgent care center–they took out a massive chunk of earwax. Once that was gone, I regained my balance and headaches were gone. However, for all my life, I always felt something wasn’t right in my abdomen, and I often complained thinking it was cancer. Last month, I doubled over in pain… turned out it was a tumor and it ruptured (which is super rare)… almost died, but I’m all good now. My hypochondria was terrible when I was a teen. I would write out my will and gave it to my mom every time I felt discomfort in my belly. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all, I want to say that I am so thankful that you’ve shared your story.

      Secondly, I want to share that I am happy that I am not alone.

      Wow, I can’t believe that all along it was a bit of ear wax. it’s crazy how our bodies works with our brains.

      Oh no! A tumor in your stomach? that is so bad!

      As long as you are better now, that’s all that matters ❤

      I completely understand how you feel though ❤

      I would always say to my mum that we need to go to the hospital every time I felt anxious, dizzy, had a headache etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your concern ❤ I'm also glad to know that my story is relatable. People often made fun of me when I expressed my concerns–if only they knew how much more that aggravates one's anxiety. And yes, it was a huge chunk of earwax–I started losing my hearing thanks to it. When they got it out, I felt like a new person lol And same! I would persist and harass my mom about going to a hospital. This last time though, she was the one who dragged me to the hospital and ended up saving my life. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re most welcome ❤ Worried about you ❤

        Some people truly don't honestly understand what we are going through & say things like 'Get over it!' or 'You over react!'

        I am happy the earwax thing was sorted ❤

        I am so happy that you have a mother that is supportive ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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