What Is Health Anxiety? | 3 Self Help Tips

Health anxiety is a condition where you constantly worry about your health, even though these worries might be unrealistic.

We can all struggle with some form of health anxiety from time to time. However, when the anxiety becomes excessive and your health worries are persistent, this can lead to unhelpful behaviours, such as constant self-checking and seeking medical reassurance, and feelings of psychological distress.

  • Are you constantly concerned with the idea of developing a particular illness, such as cancer or an autoimmune condition?
  • Do you often feel that something with is wrong with your health, even though your test results are clear and the doctor reassures you that you are fine?
  • Does this anxiety negatively influence different aspects of your life, such as family life, social life and work?
  • Do you usually tend to go through constant self-examination and self-diagnosis?
  • Do you regularly need reassurance from doctors, family and friends that you are fine, even if you don’t think what they are telling you is the truth?

The Effects Of Health Anxiety

Health anxiety can have several negative consequences on the quality of your life. Here are some examples:

  • Interpersonal and social relationships, such as having less free time to spend with friends and family due to your constant preoccupation with health worries.ifficulty working or studying; health anxiety can negatively influence your ability to focus and concentrate on a task. You might also spend most of your time visiting doctors and self-checking, thus neglecting other aspects of your everyday life.
  • Financial problems due to ongoing visits to doctors.
  • Feelings of psychological distress, depression, and lack of fulfillment.

3 Self-Help Tips

  1. Exercise regularly, sleep more, and limit alcohol intake; all these will help you alleviate the physiological symptoms of anxiety and stress that might precipitate your health anxiety.
  2. Try to challenge your health-related worries, and replace them with a more realistic way of thinking. For example, ask yourself ‘Is my reaction in proportion to the actual event’ , or ‘Is this a fact or an opinion’. Those questions will help you adapt a more flexible way of thinking, and challenge your anxiety.
  3. Take actions against your obsessive thoughts and compulsions. For example, try to avoid using online platforms to diagnose yourself, or try to eliminate seeking constant reassurance from doctors, family or friends, or repetitively self-checking and self-diagnosing.

If you are experiencing symptoms of health anxiety, it is important that you seek treatment. Your symptoms, even when they are severe, can improve with the right interventions.

Our team at EmotionMatters can help you get your life back on track. We have a multidisciplinary team who can help you overcome health anxiety:

Psychotherapists – talking therapy to break stuck patterns of thinking and ritualistic behaviour, and help you find new ways to manage emotions

Nutritional Therapy – diet, lifestyle and health interventions to balance your body chemistry

Psychiatry – medical assessment and anti-anxiety medications

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