The need to look after our well-being and to take care of our own physical integrity is one of the factors which most influenced the evolution of our brains and our behavior patterns.
For example, it is because we suffer from fear or anxiety, unpleasant or even painful emotions that we however feel relatively frequently because they are useful for our survival.
However, sometimes this predisposition to spot danger signs where there shouldn’t be can lead us to problems, and hypochondria is a sign of that. here we will see how to recognize hypochondria, as well as some tips to overcome it.
How to recognize a case of hypochondria problems?
Especially in recent times, where the large population and the dynamics of the globalized world have given rise to various pandemics and epidemics, the line separating a reasonable level of concern for one’s own health, on the one hand, and an unwarranted obsession with the the possibility of having illnesses, on the other hand, is a bit unclear.
However, it is still possible to recognize the extreme cases in which the perception of the state of one’s own body becomes so skewed towards pessimism that it is totally incompatible with reality. This is what happens with hypochondria, which not only does not help prevent serious health problems, but also becomes a problem for those who develop it.
Hypochondria, or hypochondria, is a psychological disorder characterized by a propensity to believe that one has an illness, although there is no reasonable reason to reach this conclusion.
This makes them see evidence of pathology in a wide variety of small, unimportant events., Or don’t say too much about your condition.
Here we will see some of its most distinctive features.
1. What indicates that hypochondria anxiety is not justified?
As we have seen, people suffering from hypochondria have a great facility to believe that they are suffering from diseases, to the point that this propensity for anxiety with supposed signs and symptoms of pathologies erodes their quality of life.
Here it is important to stop and think about the difference between what we can consider as reasonable grounds to suspect the existence of a pathology, on the one hand, and objective reasons to believe that. They may seem equivalent, but they are not.
For example, certain alterations linked to chronic pain can become very difficult to objectify, because ultimately what indicates its presence is the existence of a sensation of pain. In such cases, there is no objective reality on which the idea of ”I have an illness” is based, but it is reasonable to think that something is wrong with our body.
So, hypochondria has to do with overemphasizing events or phenomena that should not be attributed to a disease.
2. It’s not a simple obsession with health
To say that a hypochondriac is someone who is overly concerned about their own health would be incorrect.. In reality, hypochondria is based on a more specific type of concern: it is not the need to gain health by achieving a perfect body, but the fear of losing health.
3. Gain strength through rumination
Psychological rumination is what happens when a disturbing idea or mental image comes to our mind over and over again and makes us want it to disappear from our consciousness. In the case of hypochondria, it often happens, because as we assume that there is some problem in our body almost any stimulus or sensation that we think is abnormal can cause us to think about the possibility of having a pathology.
In turn, being repeatedly exposed to these unpleasant situations increases the anxiety of anticipation, given the possibility that with a new day new signs will appear that we have a disease.
4. It stretches over time
hypochondria it is a persistent deterioration, which lasts for months. It’s not about seeing a documentary on the effects of processed foods and spending an afternoon thinking about it.
What to do?
Here are some tips that can help people who have developed hypochondria.
1. Attend psychological therapy
The first and most important tip is to get help from psychologists, Since it is only through this procedure that you will have personalized attention and intervention measures adapted to the particularities of your case, as well as by professionals specifically trained for interventions of this type. Of course, keep in mind that therapy is a process that requires commitment, and giving up ahead of time can mean going back to the starting box.
2. Keep a journal in which you write down how you feel.
It is important that you get used to seeing past the thoughts and feelings associated with hypochondria; Ideally, don’t just experience them in your own flesh, but also learn how and when they occur.
Through this psychological “reverse engineering” process, in which you begin to detect the thought patterns behind hypochondria (when expressed), it will be easier for you to understand just how irrational these ideas are.
To achieve this, something very useful is to bring a self-registration: A place that you should always have on hand and where you can write down basic information about what you think, feel and do in the times when hypochondria manifests itself, noting the place, date and time , and what happened just before, during, and just after each of these experiences.
3. Create routines that keep you from ruminating
Even if you don’t notice it, hypochondria doesn’t spontaneously originate in your brain, but “feeds” on certain habits and contexts to which you are frequently exposed. Therefore, a good measure to take is detect situations or contexts in general that you are used to slipping into hypochondria, and opt for other options.
For example, if you notice that every time you visit YouTube you end up watching videos about the disease, it may be a good idea to choose another way to spend some of your free time on the Internet or to visit many videos on other topics so that the algorithm stops recommending that content. Or, if for some reason a lot of people are doctors in your group of friends, you can ask them directly that when you are with them they don’t talk about their work. The idea is to expose yourself to different situations, either through your context or by exposing yourself to new ones.
4. Don’t try to block the discomfort
Hypochondria gains strength when we try to completely let go of all the anxious thoughts it generates in us completely out of our consciousness. It is much better to gain ground by accepting that for a while this will cause us restlessness and discomfort..
Are you looking for psychological support against hypochondria?
If you think you have developed hypochondria and are looking for psychological help to deal with this problem with professional support, we suggest you contact us. Fr Psychology of Cribecca we have several psychotherapy experts with extensive experience in dealing with this type of problem, as well as other psychological complications: generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression, phobias, partner problems, OCD, etc.
We are currently attending face-to-face psychotherapy sessions in Seville, as well as online video call therapy sessions. If you want to know how we work, you can find out more about us on this page.
- Avia, MD; Ruiz, MA (2005). Recommendations for the treatment of hypochondriac patients. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy. 35 (3): pages 301 to 313.
- Fallon, BA; Qureshi, IA; Laje, G .; Klein, B. (2000). Hypochondria and its relation to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychiatric clinics in North America. 23 (3): pages 605 to 616.