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Hypochondria or hypochondriasis is a type of anxiety disorder in which the sufferer believes that he or she has a serious or life-threatening illness. Even though when examined medically, the symptoms are very mild or even non-existent
Hypochondria is a mental he alth problem in the form of an excessive psychological reaction to an illness. Hypochondria can occur intermittently or continuously, depending on the severity. This condition can occur at any age, but the first signs of symptoms are usually seen at the age of 25-35 years.
Different Causes of Hypochondria
The cause of hypochondria is not clearly known. However, there are several factors that are considered to be able to cause a person to experience hypochondria, namely:
Uncomfortable sensations in the body can certainly make a person think. Lack of understanding of the process of the occurrence of a disease or the normal workings of the body can make someone find out about the worst possibility. If the information he got had the slightest resemblance to what he had experienced, he would immediately conclude the worst.
Having a traumatic experience such as a severe illness as a child can frighten a person with sensations or various physical complaints as an adult.
A person is more likely to have hypochondria if their parents are people who are very worried about their he alth.
In addition to the things above, risk factors that also trigger a person to experience hypochondria include stress, having experienced abuse, and having a personality that worries easily.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Hypochondria
The following are some of the symptoms that appear in someone who has hypochondria:
- Has a high level of anxiety about his personal he alth.
- Has a fear of certain serious illnesses, for at least 6 months.
- Worrying mild symptoms as serious illness.
- Repeatedly checks his own body for signs of illness.
- Frequently make appointments with many doctors to confirm the existence of the disease.
- Avoiding lots of people, places, or activities, for fear of getting sick.
How to Treat Hypochondria
The goal of treatment for hypochondria is so that the sufferer can carry on with his usual activities, be free from the burden of thoughts related to the disease, and stop looking for justifications that he is sick from doctors or he alth professionals.
This treatment usually prioritizes psychotherapy methods and sometimes also involves prescription drugs. The most common type of psychotherapy used to treat hypochondria is cognitive behavioral therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help people with hypochondria:
- Identify the source of the fear and anxiety he feels.
- Change the way you respond to sensations or symptoms you feel.
- Reduce avoidance behavior from social activities or situations due to perceived symptoms.
- Reduce the behavior of checking the body repeatedly.
- Treats other mental he alth problems that may coexist with hypochondria, such as anxiety and depression
Something in excess is not good, even when the intention is good, namely to maintain he alth. Hypochondria can reduce a person's quality of life, especially when the severity is high and causes him to be unable to think about anything other than the disease he believes exists.
If you feel that your mind is constantly being clouded by a serious illness that scares you, this could be an early symptom of hypochondria. When these feelings start to interfere with your life or work, don't hesitate to visit a psychiatrist for a safe examination and treatment.