Overcoming health anxiety has proven far more successful in sufferers who learn as much as they can about their condition. To get you started on the road to fully understanding your condition, here are 5 facts you should know.
1. There are a surprisingly large number of people suffering with health anxiety at any one time. The number fluctuates between 4% and 20% of all Americans being affected by health anxiety.
2. Cyberchondria is the slang term given to those with health anxiety who feel compelled to investigate their own physical symptoms on the Internet. Unfortunately, “Googling” your own symptoms usually ends in disaster, since most people will continue to search for answers on the Internet until they find what they fear.
3. This disorder is very often accompanied by other forms of anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, and even social anxiety disorder are all more likely to be experienced by someone with health anxiety. There is also an increased risk of suffering with clinical depression.
4. More women than men suffer with health anxiety. Many experts believe that it’s actually suffered equally between men and women, but that the stats are skewed because men are far less likely to talk to their doctor about their problem.
5. Doctors often treat health anxiety by prescribing medications such as SSRIs. The is often unsuccessful due to the side-effects of such drugs being misinterpreted as a serious illness. Due to this problem with medication being prescribed, cognitive and other thought-based therapies are typically much better strategies.
By learning as much as you can about your condition you’ll be in a much better position to get back on the road to recovery. Educating yourself with the facts is possibly the best first step you can take in overcoming health anxiety.