Hypochondria Series: Building A Support System (Part 2/4)

M A C A R O N M A I S O N (1)

Hello loves, ❤

Day 2 on the Hypochondria Series – Below are some ways you can build a support system – Hope the below helps you ❤

  • Get a medical evaluation with your primary care provider.
    • Make a list of your current symptoms to take with you to the appointment. Since IAD can be associated with having been ill as a child or other traumatic events, make sure to inform your healthcare provider about your medical history. Your primary care provider may refer you to a mental health professional for additional treatment.

 

  • Locate a healthcare provider you can trust.
    • Obviously, the most difficult part of being a hypochondriac is that you constantly feel as if there is something terribly wrong with your body. Ultimately, a trained physician is the only person who can diagnose your symptoms and monitor them for any changes that could require a medical intervention. If you aren’t in regular contact with a doctor, finding one should be your first step

 

  • Create a good relationship with your physician.
    • If you suffer from hypochondriasis, it’s likely you’re going to be getting to know your doctor quite well. When you have an appointment, don’t be afraid to ask questions and get as much information as you can.
    • Be honest about what you are feeling and how you perceive your symptoms, even if you feel embarrassed about them. Give your physician as detailed a medical history as you can. Your doctor needs as much information as possible to offer an accurate diagnosis.
    • Keep an open mind. It’s very possible that both you and your doctor will go through periods of frustration with each other. There may be times when you think certain medical tests are necessary, and your doctor will disagree. There may also be times when your doctor will feel that you do not trust his or her judgment, and you may feel as if your doctor isn’t taking you seriously.
      • If this happens, try to remember that your physician is trying to help you, even though you differ in the perception of your situation.
    • Follow the treatment plan. If you deviate from the treatment plan, your doctor cannot accurately evaluate if the plan is working for you. This inhibits the doctor’s ability to modify your treatment plan and to provide new strategies for you. Following the treatment plan includes taking your prescriptions as prescribed by your doctor. Taking extra pills or skipping pills does nothing to build trust with your doctor. Be truthful and up front about everything related to your treatment plan.

 

  • Consider joining a support group.
    • It’s common to feel alone in your illness. Your doctor says you’re not really sick, your therapist is teaching you that you can’t trust your own perceptions of body sensation, and you’re starting to wonder how it’s possible that you’ve been so wrong. Add it up, and it can be very overwhelming. Talking to other people with your condition can help you better understand what you’re experiencing. Group therapy can introduce you to people who have learned to thrive with your condition, as well as people who are just starting out in treatment. They can provide you a support system for the times when you begin to waver in your treatment and start to doubt whether you want to continue. No one can challenge your thinking better than someone who has had all of the same thoughts that you do. You will get a chance to give back to those who are helping you. If you stick with your group, you eventually will become a resource for others who are struggling. If you’ve never met someone with your condition, it can be profoundly validating to talk to someone who has suffered from the same sorts of fears and intrusive thoughts.
    • The internet is filled with message boards and forums for anxiety disorders. On these sites, you can connect with and share feelings with others with IAD. You’ll likely meet folks with anxiety disorders different from your own, but may find that you have many things in common

 

  • Talk with a trusted friend.
    • It can be embarrassing to admit that you are consumed by obsessive fears over your health. You don’t want to be someone who is constantly complaining to everyone about how you’re sure you have a terminal illness. Unfortunately, isolating yourself only makes things worse.

 

Since many of the worst symptoms of hypochondriasis emerge while you’re alone and your brain starts spiraling into a series of dire “what if?” questions, it’s important to maintain a social life to distract you from those thinking patterns.

Friends are no substitute for treatment, but anything that helps you break up that avalanche of worries before it overwhelms you is a positive resource

A close friend might be able to see patterns in your life that you don’t. Did your symptoms start escalating after the death of a loved one? Did you begin having anxiety about pains or aches after you lost your job? A trusted friend might be able to connect those dots easier than you can.

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

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

M A C A R O N M A I S O N

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 ❤

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