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How do therapists treat hypochondria? Can we use CBT for health anxiety? Health anxiety is when you spend a lot of time thinking you are ill or are going to get ill. It affects your life and makes you feel tired. It also makes you feel anxious. No matter what you do you find yourself wanting to check on your health. You feel guilty for doing this. But, this is beyond your control. You try hard but it does not stop. This also starts to take a toll on your everyday life. It makes you stressed. You do not feel This article will help you know more about dealing with a lot of thoughts related to health.
How Do Therapists Treat Hypochondria?
There are many signs to look for to check if you have health anxiety. You might not have all the signs but most of them. Also, the severity might vary. Look for these signs:
- Thinking too much about your health.
- Feeling worried that you are already ill or are going to be ill.
- Looking for signs of illness in your body.
- Checking with people all the time to get assurance that you are not ill.
- You feel you are ill but the doctors have missed it out.
- Reading a lot about health issues either on the internet, in books, or in media.
- Not wanting to watch anything related to serious illnesses.
- Trying to act as if you are already ill.
- Feeling anxious if you have a headache or body pain.
- Not wanting to do certain tasks thinking you are ill. Such as cooking.
How Do Therapists Treat Hypochondria?
Therapy is available for all mental health issues. Even health anxiety therapy is available. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a well-known form of therapy. Therapists treat hypochondria with CBT for health anxiety. This section will help you know how therapists treat hypochondria and also CBT for health anxiety.
- Keep a journal. You can keep a diary which can help you note how your body feels. You can also note your emotions. Moreover, you can reduce the number of times you do it. This will also help you to keep track of your thoughts and emotions. This is helpful to reduce actions.
- Working on your thoughts. Your thoughts trigger emotions. Hence, if you work on your thoughts then you can also work on your emotions. You can draw a table in your book with two columns. In the first column, you can write how you feel about your health and the replaced thought for the worry.
- Keeping yourself busy with other things helps you to keep thoughts away. You can do it when you have the urge to check your body.
- Keep your daily routine activities active. No matter what happens you need to keep going with your daily routine. Do not miss out on certain things in your routine.
- You also need to learn to relax. Your health anxiety also makes you feel drained out. You forget how to rest. Hence, you need to do certain things in your day which can give you time to relax.
CBT for Health Anxiety
CBT focuses on unhelpful thoughts. This means we can slowly change the thoughts which are not helping us and replace them with positive thoughts. Some things that therapists do to treat hypochondria using CBT for health anxiety are:
- Grounding. When we focus on our anxiety, we also feel tired. We feel we are not in the present. The more we think about our illness or body parts, the more we notice that we have thoughts about our health. This also makes me feel worried. Hence, one such way is to practice grounding. Whenever you are feeling anxious, you can focus your breath on the environment around you. You can feel the ground under you. The sensation of the wind around you. Initially, it might be difficult but the more we practice it happens easily.
- Working on thoughts. We get unhealthy thoughts if we are feeling anxious all the time. CBT for health anxiety means challenging these negative thoughts and also replacing them with healthy ones. This means therapists help us to look for evidence for the thought. We also learn to challenge our thoughts. The more we challenge our thoughts help we to make these thoughts weaker. You might not see an immediate reduction in these thoughts. But, with time it helps.
Some More Ways
Here are some more ways on how CBT for healthy anxiety is used by therapists to treat hypochondria.
- Doing it differently. We tend to keep checking on our health or body parts. Weare constantly thinking about it. This also makes us feel more anxious. We need to reduce this checking. Hence, we can make a note of how we are feeling or how many times we are checking in our book. You can also aim to reduce it on a daily basis. Slowly, you will notice that you are checking on your body lesser than you were before. You can also do it if you are looking at information related to health issues all the time.
- Facing your fear. Sometimes we tend to avoid certain tasks or situations because we fear them. When a therapist treats hypochondria they help us face our fear by exposing us to it. This helps us to face our fear while practicing coping skills.
- Many times we keep asking our close ones if everything is ok. This helps to settle our anxiety for a shorter time. Asking for reassurance is good but you need to train your mind to seek reassurance from experts in the field. Hence, doctors can be helpful.
- Using the STOPP skill. This is also another important tool that can be used.
- STOP! – this means you need to pause for a moment.
- Taking a deep and slow breath.
- Observe – Notice how your body and mind are feeling. Also, see the sensations in your body.
- Pull back -Use coping skills. You can ask for more evidence for your thought. Look for a bigger picture.
- Practise / Proceed – Focus on what you can do right now in the present.
To Sum Up
CBT for health anxiety is used widely. It has also proven to work well for clients. This article helps to know how therapists treat hypochondria to help the client. Our epsych website has many online courses. These courses are on mental health topics. Each course helps to know more about mental health and how to deal with mental health issues. One such course is on Chronic Pain. This helps to know how to deal with chronic pain in a better way.