Anxiety disorders are more common than most people think, and they can remain undiagnosed and untreated for years. Hypochondriasis, more commonly known as hypochondria, typically develops in early adulthood. It’s characterized by extreme anxiety, especially concerning medical conditions. Something as simple as a sneeze could lead a hypochondriac to believe that he or she is suffering from an unknown medical condition. More than 200,000 people are diagnosed with hypochondriasis each year, and hypochondriacs account for around 5 percent of all medical spending. Fortunately, there are well-established symptoms that indicate hypochondria.
One of the most common and obvious symptoms is self-examination. A hypochondriac will check for signs of illness, whether that’s a simple rash, sneezing or even minor aches and pains. A person suffering from hypochondria may self-diagnose or treat perceived health problems with over-the-counter medications. Many hypochondriacs have a remarkably well-stocked medicine cabinet.
Fear of a suspected illness may lead a hypochondriac to visit the doctor regularly. Conversely, he or she could avoid seeing a doctor due to fearing a possible medical condition. While seeing the doctor when unnecessary is wasteful, it’s not particularly harmful. The doctor might prescribe a placebo or simply send the patient home. On the other hand, not visiting the doctor could lead to serious issues. On the off chance that the hypochondriac happens to be right on one rare occasion, an untreated health problem can potentially become worse and more serious over time.
Discussion and Research
Hypochondriacs often discuss their health problems constantly. They’ll discuss a sore back, runny nose or other perceived health concerns at length, whether with family or friends. Commonly, a person suffering from hypochondriasis will spend many hours online researching diseases. They can become obsessive when it comes to looking up rare illnesses or spend a significant portion of their time on message boards.
The anxiety suffered by a hypochondriac is very real, and it can cause serious difficulties in their day-to-day lives. Most hypochondriacs have a co-existing psychiatric disorder. Common examples are an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), major depression, and panic disorder. If you or someone you know is suffering from hypochondria, you should speak with the professionals at Kinder in the Keys, Inc. An anxiety disorder treatment center can be immensely helpful.