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Health Anxiety

We all worry about our health from time to time.  Worrying about our health can lead us to improve our lifestyle, for example, to give up smoking or to eat a healthy diet.  Health worries become a problem when they begin to get in the way of normal life even though there is no reason to think that anything is seriously wrong.  

What causes health anxiety? 

There are many reasons why someone worries too much about their health.  You may be going through a particularly stressful period of your life. There may have been illness or death in your family, or another family member may have worried a lot about your health when you were young.

Courses we provide that can help you

SilverCloud

SilverCloud is an exciting online therapy programme proven to help with stress, anxiety, low-mood and depression. There are a range of programmes, including extra activities and ideas from mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy. The programme is flexible; use it anytime, anyplace, and anywhere. You can even access it on a computer, tablet or mobile phone. Click here to read more

How can I help myself?

How can I stop asking for reassurance from the doctor and other people? 

Asking for comfort or reassurance including going to the doctor for tests makes you feel better in the short term, but tends to make you think more about your health and become more anxious in the longer term.  Try to keep a record of how many times you ask for comfort and how worried you felt each day.  Reducing the number of times you ask for reassurance or comfort will make you less anxious in the long term.  It may help to distract yourself, try to do something active such as going for a walk.  

How can I stop my focus on symptoms and the body? 

Focus on the body including squeezing, prodding, scratching and mirror gazing can lead to increase in symptoms and will make you feel very anxious.  You can make a plan to gradually reduce the number of checks you allow yourself to do each day. As you reduce the number of checks you should begin to feel less anxious about your health.

How can I stop myself finding out too much about illness? 

We know that too much focus on illness can lead people to focus on their own body and symptoms.  This can increase health anxieties.  If this is something you do, you may try to stop this by not reading medical books, looking at medical internet sites or reading medical articles in magazines.  Get your family or friends to support you in this. Try and find other ways of coping with anxiety.  Keep a record of the number of times you looked for illness information.

How should I stop behaving as if I am ill? 

Some people who worry about their health stop doing things because they worry it will bring on illness.  This has the effect of making you less healthy and fit. In the long run it will lower your mood and increase health risks.  It is important to return to normal activities.

How can I alter worrying thoughts about my health? 

The best way to stop these worrying thoughts is to think other less anxious, more balanced thoughts.

Remember if you have health anxiety you will tend to view any information, however neutral, as a sign that something is seriously wrong! Watch out for this and challenge this habit

Try some Relaxation Techniques to help

Relaxation techniques including deep muscle relaxation, controlled breathing, distraction techniques and mindfulness can all help reduce anxiety. Click here to read more