Your hypochondria may never completely go away, but you can learn how to cope with your health anxiety so that it doesn't disrupt your life.
Consider these coping measures:
Nov. 23, 2010
- Don't doctor shop. Find a health care professional you trust and stick with him or her. Don't continually seek out new doctors or health care professionals to run more tests or perform more procedures. Scheduling regular follow-up visits with your health care provider can help offer reassurance that you're OK.
- Avoid excessive research. For someone with hypochondria, the Internet can be a dangerous place. Don't spend hours researching health information or looking up vague symptoms. Chances are, you'll find something you think you have, fueling your anxiety.
- Skip disease-of-the-week stories. The media is full of stories with dire warnings about "overlooked" or "misdiagnosed" diseases that are just waiting to strike you down. Avoid these stories. They may only increase your anxiety, especially if they include common or vague symptoms.
- Don't get fixated on your body. Resist the urge to continually monitor your pulse or other vital signs or to check your body for signs of disease. Talk to your doctor about what self-checks or self-exams are reasonable for you.
- Ask for help. Ask for support and patience from family and friends who know you have hypochondria. Talking openly to them may help ease their own frustrations about your health anxiety, and they may be able to help you keep perspective.
- Join a support group. Join a hypochondria or anxiety support group. It can help you connect with others who share common concerns, find out more about your condition and learn additional coping strategies.
- Hypochondriasis. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Aug. 27, 2010.
- Asmundson GJ. Health anxiety: Current perspectives and future directions. Current Psychiatry Reports. 2010;12:306.
- Greenberg DB, et al. Somatization. In: Stern TA, et al. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/217852368-5/0/1657/229.html?tocnode=57542807&fromURL=229.html#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-04743-2..50026-3_582. Accessed Aug. 27, 2010.
- Ferri FF. Hypochondriasis. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00017-2--sc29050&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00017-2--sc29050&uniqId=217852368-6#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00017-2--sc29050. Accessed Aug 27, 2011.
- Smith RC. Primary care management of medically unexplained symptoms. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 27, 2010.
- Greenberg DB. Primary care management of medically unexplained symptoms. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 27, 2010.
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