In A Better You, Phobias & Fears, Syndromes & Disorders


Hypochondria is an illness where the person believes they suffer from a serious illness. It often causes problems with work, relationships, and school. Children, teens and adults worry about their health constantly and various symptoms they experience. Symptoms are worrying about illnesses every day, talking about illness with friends and family, doing health research constantly, checking the body for lumps or sores or constantly taking vital signs.

If you have a child, teen, or college student with hypochondria make a doctors appoint to rule out a real physical illness. If your child keeps going to the doctor and they find nothing wrong the problem may be mental. The doctor often can recommend qualified staff for counseling and most hospitals have a psychiatric department that can access the individual and provide services.

Often the examination consists of a physical exam, psychological evaluation, and laboratory tests. This is used to make a diagnosis of the illness. The causes of hypochondria are many life experiences, psychological issues, and heredity. Some patients surf online to find answers to their symptoms often making their anxieties worse. It is often hard dealing with hypochondria in a person you live with.

Treatments for Hypochondria

Often psychological treatment is used for hypochondria. Cognitive behavioral therapy trains patients to recognize and change behaviors associated with anxiety and worries. Other times they use exposure therapy where you directly confront your health fears in safe place with a qualified counselor. Often reading about this disorder and educating family and friends is another part of the treatment.

Sometimes anti-depressants are used to treat the disorder like Prozac, Luvox and Paxil. Parents can help children with the disorder by learning as much as they can about it. Help them to stick to the treatment plan prescribed by the doctor. Get an exercise program and stick to it. This alleviates stress and anxiety. Avoid drugs and alcohol especially if taking medications. Sometimes joining a support group talking with others with the same problem helps patients to learn new coping strategies.

Cases and New Treatments

Lee Gardon developed symptoms that seemed like multiple sclerosis especially when he learned a friend suffered from the disease. He went to numerous doctors who performed many tests but could not find anything wrong with him. Eventually with the help of his wife he came to find out that he suffered from the symptoms of hypochondria and he sought treatment. He was an older man in his mid forties.

Some estimate that 5 percent of hypochondrics are in primary care centers. They cost the health care system over $20 billion in unnecessary doctor visits. Today hypochondria is seen as an illness caused by biological and psychological problems. This has lead to therapies designed to help victims learn to cope better with this illness.

Arthur Barsky professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School says that often it is hard to convince people this is a legitimate illness of the brain. Often those with hypochondia disorder believe they have the most serious and life threating illnesses. Often they are drawn to learn about illnesses like cancer, heat disease and lupus. Often these diseases cannot be identified accurately by medical professionals.

These sufferers are ready to take on the latest virus or flu that develops in the news. It is hard dealing with hypochondria when you live with the person. They are highly tuned in to their bodies and don’t know how to tune out symptoms and thoughts. The definition of hypochondria is someone who imagines symptoms that are not real. The ideas often come from reading and hearing about other people’s illness.

There are three type of hypochondria. One is the obsessional anxious type that worries about symptoms looking for reassurance that nothing is wrong. Often they ask family members and doctors questions. The depressive hypochondriac goes to the doctor crying insisting they are dying. This type often become convinced that their physical disorder is real.

Finally the obsessional type is when someone has symptoms and wants the doctor of find out whats wrong. They don’t assume its life threating but want answers to the problem. A doctor named Fallon believes that some symptoms are produced by a abnormality in proteins in the body called cytokines . These proteins are believed to cause symptom like pain, perception and tiredness in the body. Brain scans of the disorder show an increased amount of activity in the brain.

Fallon has studied the effects of different medications on hypochondria. He has challenged the traditional beliefs about the illness. He has proved that it can be treated with counseling and medications. Besides medications therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and meditations have been effective in some patients.

Nutrition has proved to be an important part of recovery from this disorder. Eliminating foods that may cause allergies and eating food rich in vitamins and minerals is an approach at University of Maryland Medical Center. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, smaller portions of red meats, and more frequent meals is part of their program for treatment for hypochondria. Eliminating commercially baked good like cookies and cakes has proven effective too. Exercising regularly 30 minutes day is recommended.

Abigail Breslin a child prodigy admits suffering from hypochondria symptoms. At three she appeared in commercials while most kids are learning the alphabet. By five she was in full length feature films. During this time she suffered from fear of getting ill. She is not allowed to watch medical shows because she may think she has the illness. When three or four she was afraid of stepping on glass so she even wore shoes to bed. For a long time she thought she had bird flu symptoms without any specific reason.

When talking with children about illness explain the difference between serious illness and normal conditions. When a child sees someone in the family suffer from a serious physical illness they may think they will get it. Often they conclude this is normal. If the parents or caregiver relays negative messages they may pick up on this too.

Teach kids about the human body, germs, and the immune system and how it protect us. This give them a positive outlook on illness. When they get a cold and get better explain how the body is stronger. Tell them the odds that they will come down with a serious illness are not very high or likely. It is one in several thousand.

Try to distinguish whether the hypochrondia disorder is a cry for attention. Have patience with the child with hypochondria anxiety Try to reward positive behavior and ignore negative symptoms of the illness. Arguing with them often makes the anxiety worse. Talk to them to see why they feel they have this illness.

Help kids realize that fears and thought are not always accurate about illness. The best method on how to deal with hypochondria is talk to your child and get professional help when symptoms interfere with normal activities. There are different ways on how to treat hypochondria and your doctor will find the best method. What causes hypochondria is not really known.

Overcoming hypochondria require getting the child or adult treatment that addresses the problem. Hypochondria treatment and hypochondria disorder are a real illness not just in the person’s mind. Severe hypochondria often causes serious issued in every day life. There is a hypochondria test with questiond given to diagnose hypochondria disorder. Remember hypochondrias are often children, teens and adults that you know and often live with.

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