Extreme Cases of Hypochondria-How Bad It Can It Get?

Written by: Ankita Kathad MA – (Clinical Psychology)
Last updated date : March 03, 2023

Hypochondria is a psychological condition. In this, a person reports continuous fear of having or catching a serious medical disease. Moreover, the person regularly shows health concerns. This occurs even when the doctors and lab reports confirm that the person is fine. Individuals suffering from this condition sometimes misread common physical sensations, body functions, and moderate physical symptoms as signs of a serious medical condition. This article explores what are the extreme cases of hypochondria and how bad can it get.

First, let us look at the common symptoms of hypochondria:

  • The person constantly thinks that they are ill.
  • They keep checking their health status. A minor change worries them.
  • They cant relax even with negative lab results. Moreover, doctors’ reassurance cant calm them.
  • They worry about a specific medical problem or a chance of getting it as if runs in the family
  • They cannot concentrate on work due to the fear of getting sick. For instance, a person may not go to work on a mild winter morning. This is due to the fear of catching the flu
  • They keep visiting their doctor regularly to find comfort. In contrast, the person may postpone their medical visits. This is because they fear serious medical news.
  • They keep discussing their health problems with others.
  • They keep searching the internet for causes and symptoms of a particular disease.

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Chapter 1:

Extreme Cases of Hypochondria

Picture this- Sam suffers from hypochondria. He worries a lot about his health. Sam is convinced that any social visits will make him sick. He avoids meeting new people. He feels that even a handshake can lead to germ spread. As a result, he has stopped going to social events. Additionally, he is suffering from a huge financial debt as he is frequently getting lab tests. He avoids the office whenever it is raining. This is why he has weak attendance. This has resulted in warnings from his office.

In conclusion, extreme cases of hypochondria can lead to a financial burden. It can also spoil social relationships. Above all, unnecessary medicine intake can lead to side effects.

Some extreme cases of hypochondria may look like:

  • A person may spend a huge amount of money on medical exams. As a result of this, they may face a financial burden.
  • A person may end up paying a heavy bill to specialist. Additionally, he may waste time in finding one.
  • A person may avoid local vehicles due to fear of contamination.
  • A person may lose social contact. This can happen because they may only speak about their illness to their loved ones.
  • A person may become depressed if he worries too much. Some may think of suicide to end their pain.
  • A person may not be able to concentrate on other activities. This can pose a serious risk if they are driving.
  • A person may ignore their loved ones if they spend too much time browsing their symptoms.

How Bad Can Hypochondria Get?

Hypochondriasis can affect the daily life of a person. It is well known that a doctor’s presence causes nervousness in some people. People with illness anxiety may get anxious in presence of a doctor In their presence. Firstly, their normal heart rate may shoot up. Secondly, the person gets convinced that they have a problem.

Children suffering from this may refuse school. For instance, they may think that they have a stomachache and avoid school. This can affect their grades. The teacher may not believe the child’s story of illness. Moreover, friends may label the child as a ‘weak one’.

People who are suffering get alarmed even with at slightest change in their bodies. For instance, they may worry about minor joint aches. This can happen at a gathering. They might end up spoiling the mood of others in the room. Friends and family may label the person as an ‘Attention seeker or ‘Time wasters’.

In extreme cases, a care-avoidant person may even reject going to a doctor. They may ⁣fear that they will get bad news. As a result, they may cancel crucial appointments. They can refuse to look at their lab report or share their fears with their loved ones.

Chapter 2:

Causes of Hypochondriasis

The specific causes of this disorder are not known. However, several factors could play a part in it. Some of these include:
    • A history of past illness– A person may have trauma from past illness or surgeries. Any minor change in the body could trigger them.
    • Stress- A person can have major life stress which can make them very sensitive to even small amounts of stress.
    • History of neglect and abuse: In childhood, if a person has faced abuse or neglect, they may feel very vulnerable. They can feel insecure. Moreover, they may always be alert. This results in excessive health concerns.
    • Observing death: Family members love and pay attention to a sick member. As a result of this observation, a kid may believe that they must be sick to be loved and cared for. This belief may carry on unknowingly into adulthood.
    • Difficulty in expressing: Some children are raised in a tough environment. For instance, in a strict household. They may not know how to express emotions. They may think that the only way to connect with others is by alerting them to health concerns.
    • Learning from parents: If a parent excessively worries about their children’s health, the child may pick that habit. Children are likely to pick the reactions of a worried parent.

How to Handle Extreme Cases of Hypochondria

Counselling and medical treatment can be very helpful to treat extreme cases of sickness anxiety. A mixed approach of medications such as anti-anxiety can help the person suffering from anxiety. Therapy can help patients overcome their concerns. The person learns to recognise and understand the incorrect beliefs that trigger their fear in this sort of therapy. Some self-help tips include:

  1. Maintain a thought journal and record instances of health concerns. One can monitor the frequency, duration and place of these concerns. Further, They can question the thought behind them.
  2. You can learn stress management techniques. One can also learn relaxation methods. These methods can help relieve fear.
  3. Not taking alcohol or substances that cause anxiety. Alcohol and drugs are not only bad for health but it also leads to liver issues.
  4. You can use mindfulness. This method requires focusing on the present moment and the body. It helps in understanding the usual sensations you experience daily. It further allows them to feel more natural and less like potential health problems.
  5. Make an appointment with the doctor regularly to discuss health concerns. This involves working with them to establish a limit on medical tests.

Lastly, a health concern should not be neglected. One should seek expert help if the problem persists. Additionally, we should not label or ignore people with health concerns.

At Epsychonline, there are courses which help people deal with hypochondria and anxiety. Do read about it.

"Completed at my own pace, great online learning!" Venus

99 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount