Hypochondria is a psychological disorder characterized by an excess of fear and worry about the possibility of suffering from any disease.
People who develop this disorder constantly think about the disease (s) they believe they have contracted and have a constant state of hypervigilance over their own body and a constant need for “self-diagnosis”, even knowing that only a professional properly qualified health can diagnose diseases.
Distinguish what we call “hypochondria”, on the one hand, from a normal and natural concern for one’s own health, It’s basic. Therefore, in this article we will see what are the differences between the two phenomena.
The main differences between hypochondria and a normal health problem
Here is a summary of the main differences between what we call hypochondria and the concern for “healthy” health.
1. The vicious circle of anxiety
One of the main characteristics of hypochondria is obsessive behavior in the face of any aspect of a disease, real or imagined, In addition to constantly seeking sources of information that allow us to feel calmer about the alleged pathology (or the possibility of having developed it).
People who do not have this particular condition often worry about their health outside of a vicious cycle of anxious logic. That is, they only consider the possibility of having a disease with very specific symptoms or when they have some kind of discomfort of significant intensity and steadily over time, and at instead of constantly seeking information, they go straight to the doctor and let themselves be advised.
Hypochondriacs, on the other hand, overreact to the slightest symptom of the disease regardless of its severity and tend to constantly self-analyze, placing much more importance on their own subjectivity (in turn driven by l anxiety) than from the point of view of true health. experts.
In addition, it is a characteristic of hypochondriacs to think at all times and obsessively about the imminent danger of any kind of disease and they can sometimes give up all daily activities to devote themselves fully to “treating” or relieving their hypothetical illness..
2. For excessive
Another sign that differentiates hypochondria from the natural health problem that anyone can have is the exaggerated and permanent fear that hypochondriacs feel about the disease.
People who do not suffer from hypochondria may be afraid of their possible medical condition, but this is limited to the disease they have or think they have and it is fear motivated by real and possible causes. And in any case, they assume they should leave the process of diagnosis, supervision and eventual treatment in the hands of doctorsThey therefore adopt a rather stoic state of mind: “if I can’t do anything relevant outside of the healthcare professional, there’s no point in being obsessed”.
Instead, hypochondriacs feed their own fear, Alarm and worry. This heightened fear can start for causes that, in most people, would be less important, such as a cut, a small sore, a cold, or a spot on the skin.
3. Physical and mental wear and tear
Unlike people who are not prone to hypochondria, there are many emotional alterations that a hypochondriac experiences throughout their daily life that of course can affect that individual’s normal and adaptive functioning with people with hypochondria. Their environment (and also affect different activities and obligations).
Some of these symptoms are common permanent anxiety, stress, mood swings, palpitations, sweating, tremors, high blood pressure or headaches, Which are sometimes intensified in the presence of doctors or health professionals and which in turn return the feeling of illness that the person has, which becomes a vicious cycle.
Some of the behavioral symptoms of a hypochondriac person usually also talk constantly about their illness in their family or friends circle, constantly seeking medical information through different channels to confirm their concerns, and going to the doctor repeatedly or else avoid going completely to the doctor’s office: extreme and systematic reactions.
The health concern that we might call adaptive or healthy does not usually come with strong emotional fluctuations.Rather, it is expressed as a series of habits performed automatically, not necessarily paying attention to the health repercussions that each action will have.
Therefore, the real health concern arises at very specific times, such as when a back pain appears or when we feel very bloated from what we have eaten.
however, hypochondria generates real concern much more frequently and consistently. For example, to be diagnosed with hypochondria associated with what is called a somatic symptom disorder, its symptoms must remain persistent for at least 6 months in a person.
5. Persist after a negative diagnosis
People who naturally care about their health and have real reason to do so stop worrying once they have received a reassuring diagnosis from a doctor and usually listen to their instructions when a professional tells them their life is not in danger.
On the other hand, people with hypochondria tend to remain overly concerned and alarmed about their own health. even after a doctor assures them that their concerns have no basis.
It also often happens that a person suffering from hypochondria repeatedly consults the advice and evaluation of different doctors. looking for a diagnosis that matches their concerns and a pessimistic view of their health, Although from his point of view he is only looking for a reassuring diagnosis, a paradoxical situation.
6. There are other disorders associated with hypochondria
In addition to presenting a series of more or less recognizable symptoms, people with hypochondria are also more likely to have other disorders associated with this condition and that they will not naturally present to those people who are simply temporarily concerned about their health.
Some of these disorders often associated with hypochondria are usually anxiety disorders and phobias, or depression.
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