Hypochondria is the frequent concern for one’s health, experiencing exaggerated sensations of possible physical symptoms which lead to a lot of alarmism and worry.
Hypochondriacs are very concerned about the fear of suffering from an illness, which leads them to consult the doctor a lot or, on the contrary, not to go to examinations for fear of being found.
Knowing how to help a hypochondriac is not an easy taskBut there are plenty of ways to reduce your psychological distress and prevent wear and tear on your nearest circle. Here are some ways to do this.
Hypochondria, an increasingly frequent problem
Hypochondria is a common health problem, experiencing alarming thoughts at symptoms that may not have medical significance. This syndrome has been made worse in the Internet age, since by having free access to medical information, there are many people who believe they are presenting symptoms where none exist, or exaggerating feelings and relate to them.
It is also because of the Internet that people have access to unreliable sources of information that are claimed to be true, which can lead them to take inadequate health measures. People fall into the trap of self-diagnosis by reading these media, interpreting their state of health without really knowing how to do it or at least giving more importance to which symptoms.
Whatever the cause of hypochondria, the truth is because of this, the person suffers from physical symptoms, chronic pain with no real organic cause and mood swings. Excessive health-related behaviors can cause a person to have health-oriented conversations or to hear, almost immediately, any of the symptoms they have read or learned.
As a result, the patient often goes to the doctor to find the diagnosis that justifies their alleged symptoms and to understand their suffering. When the doctor rules out the disease, the patient feels relief, but after a while he dances again.. The reverse can also happen, as excessive concern for the disease leads the person to avoid doctors for fear of confirming it.
How to help a person suffering from hypochondria?
There are several ways to help people with symptoms of hypochondria.
1. Encourage them to seek psychological help
When you try to reason with the person about what is happening to them, you run the risk a psychological game that exhausts us and does not help either.
Knowing how to overcome hypochondria is no easy task, and it is very likely that we feel a little off the mark when interacting with our known hypochondriac.
In that case, it is better to encourage him to seek psychological help, So that a therapist can apply the appropriate treatment and succeed in reducing his symptoms, by treating the fear and obsession with the disease.
2. Understanding and patience
Among the main keys to helping people with hypochondriacs, the important thing is to be empathetic and patient. People who suffer from excessive concern for their health the last thing they need is to see how their family and friends are moving. This can cause more stress, which would make your psychological state even worse.
Stress and anxiety have a direct effect on sensitivity to milder symptoms, increasing their perceived severity and fueling fear and worry. The best we can do is be patient and understanding, offering positive feedback.
In most cases, patients with hypochondria they feel misunderstood and judged for behaving in a way that may be overstated for others.
3. Don’t do negative reviews
Another symptom of hypochondria is that patients often amplify their discomfort, which leads their environment to make negative assessments of their own discomfort. Comments such as “exaggerated” or “if nothing” does not help.
You have to try to be empathetic and understand that their manifestations are the result of what they feelConcerns that experience them as something of life and death.
4. Avoid overprotection
Sometimes it happens that the immediate environment falls into the trap of exaggerating the patient’s symptoms, feeding their worry and thinking that they really have a very serious illness, thinking that there is something they can do about it. such an imaginary disease.
It should be understood that yes we can influence the health of our circle, Whether or not you have a real health problem. If you have it, it is best to see a doctor or psychologist, if necessary. Otherwise, it is better to avoid falling into their game, but, as we said, avoid judging.
Overprotection should also be avoided if you have a real health problem. There are things that do not depend on us, but on the course of the disease itself.
One of the main characteristics of hypochondria is the constant and obsessive worry about any physical sensation. The person cannot focus on any physical problem they are experiencing, exaggerating its severity.
It is for this reason that a good way to alleviate your problem is get him distracted with hobbies, How to read, play sports, cook, watch series, listen to music … The goal is to be able to do something that breaks your obsessive thinking with diseases.
6. Follow expert and official sources
One of the problems of the Internet age is information overload. It can come in different ways, such as web pages, instant messaging channels in which fake news is placed, or simply misuse and misinterpretation of information from trusted sources.
First, you need to search the internet for reliable information, and second, accompany the family member during this search to put the seriousness and the realism of these symptoms into perspective. Understand that, if you are not a doctor, what is on the internet is only information that can be interpreted by professionals, and that looking for it and reading it diagonally is useless.
7. Support the doctor
As we have already mentioned, hypochondriacs usually go for medical consultation. The best thing to do in these cases is to accompany him and, after the visit is over, to emphasize what the doctor told him, indicating why the professional is a reliable and realistic source of his state of health.
The diagnosis made by the doctor is confirmation or denial that you have a health problem.. Obviously, it can happen that the doctor has committed negligence, but for these cases, a second medical opinion may be requested, which will refute or confirm the first diagnosis.
- Berrios GE (2001) Hypochondriac. Concept history. A Starcevic V and Lipsitt DR (eds). Hypochondriac. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 3-20.
- Avia MD, Ruiz MA (2005). “Recommendations for the treatment of hypochondriac patients”. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy. 35 (3): 301-13. doi: 10.1007 / s10879-005-4322-3
- Kring AM, Davison GC, Neale JM, Johnson SL (2007). Abnormal Psychology with Cases (10th ed.). Wiley. ISBN 978-0-471-71260-2.