Anyone can worry about their health. Striving not to get sick and take the necessary measures for this is perfectly normal. However, some individuals are concerned about their state of health to such an extent that it negatively affects their quality of life. Uncontrolled fear of disease is called nosophobia. Intense concern for physical health is also called hypochondria.
Features of the State
When hypochondriac seek professional help, they tend to complain to the doctor about the many different symptoms inherent in somatic diseases. To exclude possible illnesses, patients are assigned extensive diagnostics. It usually takes a very long time before clarifies the true causes of the symptoms arise. The danger lies in the fact that all this time the hypochondria progresses, “rewarding” its owner with new unpleasant manifestations. There are 4 main causes of nosophobia:
- Negative experience. Often, the basis for the development of fears of falling ill with a particular disease becomes a negative experience experienced, associated with a real-life threat to health (one’s own or one’s loved ones).
- Upbringing Many parents (especially overprotective) too often take their children to doctors, fearing that he may be ill with anything, and reacting violently to any of his complaints. Also, many adults inspire their children that they are in danger everywhere, asking to be careful even in situations that do not imply any threat.
- Increased suspiciousness. There are too susceptible individuals quite often develop fears and neuroses. Even watched movies about certain diseases or hear unpleasant story could trigger the manifestation of intense anxiety.
- Mental disorder. In some cases, fear develops against the background of already existing neurotic diseases (for example, with an irrational fear of death).
Fear of disease may be accompanied by the following physiological signs:
- insomnia, early or too frequent awakening, shallow sleep, nightmares;
- respiratory disorders;
- gastrointestinal disorders;
- increased blood pressure, tachycardia;
- severe sweating;
- frequent urination;
- discomfort in various parts of the body.
With the manifestation of symptoms such as tachycardia or high blood pressure, an acute panic attack can occur in a patient, since these symptoms in many cases cause patients to think about approaching death. Tachycardia can also trigger the development of cardiophobia – the pathological fear of death from heart disease.
What Does the Treatment Include?
Fears and neurotic states should be dealt with by a psychotherapist. The difficulty lies in the fact that often hypochondriacs refuse to attend psychotherapy sessions, continuing to believe in the presence of somatic ailment and accusing doctors of non-professionalism. Many patients suffering from the fear of disease simply do not understand that certain physiological manifestations may be the result of a phobia of illness and psychological problems. At the first meeting, a neurologist, a psychologist or a psychotherapist should correctly explain to the patient the relationship of physiological symptoms with the mental state. Sometimes just understanding this relationship brings the patient substantial relief.
The main psychotherapeutic methods used to combat fears are cognitive behavioral therapy, NLP, hypnosis, autogenic training, and more. To reduce the severity of undesirable symptoms, tranquilizers and antidepressants are prescribed to the patient – these drugs significantly reduce nervous tension and reduce anxiety. Each patient suffering from uncontrollable fear, remember that taking drugs without psychotherapy sessions do not solve the problem, or solve only some time after the end of taking medication undesirable symptoms will return again. It is also necessary to remember that the use of antidepressants and tranquilizers without the recommendations of a doctor is strictly prohibited.
At an early stage, you can try to cope with the problem on your own. Walking in the fresh air, good sleep, exercise and positive emotions will help make the nervous system more resistant to stressful situations and prevent the development of slight excitement for your health into an uncontrollable fear of disease. Also benefit from the various breathing exercises and meditative techniques. The most important thing is not to start a problem, not to postpone its solution for later and with due attention to treat all unpleasant manifestations.