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From Worry to Wellness: Navigating Health Anxiety with Confidence.

What is Health Anxiety?

Health anxiety is characterised by excessive worry, fear and preoccupation with the idea of having a serious medical condition or illness, despite having little or no medical evidence to support this belief. Individuals with health anxiety often interpret normal bodily sensations or minor symptoms as signs of a severe illness, leading to significant distress and impairment in their daily lives.

Key features and symptoms of health anxiety include:

  1. Excessive Worry About Health: Individuals with health anxiety are preoccupied with thoughts and concerns about their health. They often imagine or fear the worst-case scenarios regarding their physical well-being.

  2. Frequent Checking and Reassurance Seeking: People with health anxiety may engage in compulsive behaviours such as repeatedly checking their bodies for signs of illness, searching for medical information online, or seeking reassurance from healthcare providers and loved ones.

  3. Visiting Doctors Regularly: Health anxiety can lead individuals to seek medical attention frequently, even when they have been reassured that there is no serious medical condition. 

  4. Physical Symptoms: Anxiety associated with health anxiety can manifest as physical symptoms, including palpitations, muscle tension, headaches, digestive problems and more. These symptoms are often a result of heightened anxiety and not an actual medical condition.

  5. Avoidance Behaviour: Some individuals with health anxiety may avoid situations or activities they believe could put their health at risk, such as avoiding certain foods, exercise, or social gatherings.

  6. Excessive Research: People with health anxiety often spend a significant amount of time researching medical conditions and symptoms online, leading to further anxiety and distress.

  7. Impaired Daily Functioning: Health anxiety can interfere with an individual's daily life, work and relationships. The constant worry and preoccupation with health can be mentally exhausting.

How can CBT help?

CBT is considered one of the most effective treatments for health anxiety. It helps individuals gain control over their excessive worries about health and reduces the distress and impairment associated with this condition. If you or someone you know is struggling with health anxiety, seeking help from a mental health professional trained in CBT is recommended for effective treatment.

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