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How To Beat Health Anxiety

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Seek Help For Anxiety

Health Anxiety – Part One: What It Is and How to Overcome It

Many people with health anxiety also have other mental health conditions, and actively managing both anxiety and other mental health conditions can significantly improve symptoms.

Our team at Psychology Beverly Hills specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy and mentalization based therapy for anxiety, depression, and other common mental health conditions.

In addition to offering practical and psychological tools to manage health anxiety, talk therapy can also help identify the root cause of health fears to then help address underlying concerns. Treating anxiety through counseling makes it easier for people to move past their worries so that they can feel less overwhelmed about health concerns and more freely able to enjoy their life.

For many people, seeking help is the first step to overcoming health anxiety. Book an appointment with our team online or call our Beverly Hills, California, office at 424-331-1570 to get started today.

Tip : Symptom Trigger Control

Millions of people suffer from anxiety attacks. These attacks are often triggered by other symptoms of anxiety, and cascade until they peak about 10 minutes in with a feeling of pure, unadulterated doom. Anxiety attacks are one of the most stressful and frustrating events to experience, and make it very hard to overcome anxiety.

Stopping anxiety attacks takes time and effort, and isn’t something that you can simply fight away. In fact, the more you think about trying to control your attacks, often the more you’ll worry about one coming. This might even make you more likely to have an attack. It’s the catch-22 of trying to fight panic attacks.

What you can do is control the effects of triggers, and that means that you need to get used to each symptom so that they don’t trigger panic. If you track your anxiety you may be able to identify some regular trigger points. You can do this with what’s known as “exposure therapy.” It’s best to do this in the presence of an expert, but it is also something you can try in the comfort of your own home. Let’s give an example that assumes that you get extreme anxiety that is triggered when you start to feel dizzy.

Over time, you’ll get so used to feeling dizzy and seeing that nothing terrible happens, that it won’t cause as much fear. You can then try it in other styles and intensities too, such as spinning in a circle, or spinning in a chair in a public place. The more you’re used to the symptom, the less likely it will trigger anxiety.

What Kind Of Therapist Is Right For Me

Just like there are different types of therapy, there are lots of distinctions between counselors, therapists and doctors. After reflecting and seeing what issues you want to treat, you can start to look for a suitable professional.

To help with making an informed decision, heres an overview of a few kinds of mental health providers:

Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists are doctors of medicine who can not only diagnose mental health conditions, but also provide medication to treat symptoms

Psychologist

Psychologists are certified professionals who provide therapy by listening to your behaviors, emotions, and thoughts and give you feedback and emotional homework to learn, grow, and cope.

Licensed professional counselor

LPCs need to get a masters degree in Counseling to practice. In many cases, licensed professional counselors share many of the same responsibilities as clinical psychologists.

Licensed marriage and family therapist

LMFTs have masters degrees and usually over a decade of experience in providing counseling for couples and families. They can both diagnose mental health issues and treat them in the context of relationships.

Licensed clinical social worker

Licensed clinical social workers usually have masters degrees in Social Work and help clients deal with problems like trauma or loss, life issues like homelessness, addiction, and serious emotional challenges.

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Shift Your Focus Outward

One of the hallmarks of health anxiety is an overly strong internal focus. When you notice yourself scanning your body or engaging with and entertaining anxious thoughts, try to shift from an internal to a more outward focus. Find something to do. Call a friend, go for a walk, read a book, and get engaged with the world.

Why Does It Occur

Four ways to beat anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental problems in the world today, and yet it is complex and sometimes difficult to understand.

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Health anxiety can happen for a variety of reasons:

  • You may have been diagnosed with a serious illness before.
  • You may have experienced emotional trauma involving death in the family or someone close because of a specific sickness.
  • Despite the many tests, the doctors cannot provide an official diagnosis of your medical symptoms.
  • The media may even influence your sense of thinking. During the height of the Ebola epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received more than 4,500 false alarms.
  • You are not getting well even if youre already taking medications or supplements.
  • You fear death.
  • The doctor diagnosed you with a medical condition that can cause specific changes in the body. An example is hypothyroidism, which studies had shown may have a link with anxiety.

What is hypothyroidism? It is a condition characterized by an underactive thyroid gland.

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Tips For Managing Health Anxiety

People with health anxiety find themselves worrying a lot about getting ill, or that they might already be ill. In particular, they often have concerns about any physical symptoms they have and what they might mean. Anxiety is a natural response to a threat, or to something we believe is a threat â so itâs no surprise that the coronavirus outbreak has led some peopleâs health anxiety to get worse. Itâs also caused others whoâve never had it before to start experiencing problems.

If you have health anxiety, you could be having a lot of negative or scary thoughts at the moment â for example, âeveryone I care about is going to get illâ. You might notice that youâre constantly searching online for more information about the illness and the latest statistics. Anxiety can also have physical effects, such as a racing heart or nausea.

Here are five tips put together by Shazna Khanom, CBT therapist and UK Clinical Director with ieso, to help you manage your health anxiety symptoms.

1) Acknowledge how youâre feeling.

Thereâs no right or wrong way to feel at the moment. The simple act of naming the emotions and feelings youâre experiencing is a really effective first step to reducing their intensity.

2) Avoid health-related news.

3) Stop Googling your symptoms.

4) Manage unhelpful thoughts.

5) Maintain as normal a routine as you can.

How Is Illness Anxiety Disorder Diagnosed

To diagnose illness anxiety disorder, healthcare providers refer to the criteria listed in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , 5th edition. Your provider may make a diagnosis or they may refer you to a behavioral health specialist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.

A persistent fear about having a serious illness or developing one is the top symptom of illness anxiety disorder. Your provider may diagnose illness anxiety disorder if you have health anxiety for six months or longer even after tests show that youre not sick.

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Be Open To The Idea Of Tolerating And Accepting A Certain Amount Of Uncertainty

The only thing that would likely bring your health anxiety to zero would be knowing that your risk of experiencing future health-related issues is zero and thats just not going to happen. As you start to accept and tolerate some risk above zero, youll find that you also start to shift out of anxious thinking and into the kind of life you really want to live.

Stress Anxiety And Depression Should Never Be Overlooked Eat These 10 Foods To Fight Depression And Improve Your Overall Mental Health

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Depression may feel like a lonesome battle no matter how many people are in your life to support you. And until you win it, you must battle it every day. In addition to medication, a healthy diet is a big help. Hence, consume these foods to fight depression.

Health Shots got in touch with nutritionist and lifestyle educator Karishma Chawla to understand how diet can improve mental health and which foods can help manage depression by improving ones mood.

Read Also: What Does The Word Depression Mean

Pricing & Special Offers

Talkspace has 3 plans to choose from depending on your needs and budget. If you really need live sessions to get you through the week, then the LiveTalk plan is best for you since it provides 4 monthly live sessions. Otherwise, if you just need someone to talk to, one of the unlimited messaging plans will work great. Heres a look at the plans available:

Unlimited text, video, audio messaging

Guaranteed daily responses 5 days/week

4 live video sessions/month

Talkspace also offers a discount on couples therapy for $79/week or $71/week for a 3-month plan. This is helpful if you are having difficulties in your relationship and want to get counseling together. Clients can cancel their plans at any time.

There is no free trial, which is a bummer, but there is something just as good. Talkspace gives you a free consultation to assess your situation and help match you with the best counselor for your needs. In this consultation you can ask as many questions as youd like, chat as long as youd like, and get a good idea of how the Talkspace service works.

How To Overcome Health Anxiety

A big challenge with health anxiety is accepting your concerns as anxiety rather than searching for the ailment you feel convinced you have. As with fears and phobias, anxiety helps you to feel safe. If you let go of your health anxiety will your perceived illness suddenly worsen? Or will you fail to notice when you develop a serious health problem? The feelings of fear are very real.

Overcoming health anxiety is possible but it takes acceptance. Acceptance that your symptoms are either typical feelings of your body functioning or physical symptoms of anxiety. Some people believe that the mind is so powerful it has the ability to create physical symptoms, other people believe that when you focus on a physical feeling intensely it becomes stronger and more noticeable. In both these situations your own thoughts cause a physical reaction that you perceive as a fault in your body. Overcoming health anxiety means recognising the cause of your worries and symptoms is health anxiety, learning how to cope with health anxiety and learning how to stop health anxiety symptoms.

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What Our Expert Says About Talkspace

As online therapy gains so much popularity, Talkspace is one of the leading contenders as a HIPPA-compliant site that offers a variety of ways to be in touch with experienced therapists on an extremely user-friendly platform. With over 5,000 licensed therapists, Talkspace therapists utilize a number of therapeutic approaches in their work with individuals, couples, and teens. The LiveTalk Unlimited Package offers 4-30 minute video sessions and unlimited messaging for people who want the most out of the therapy experience. Members who dont want live sessions can opt to pay less for unlimited text, video, and audio messaging. This is a nice touch that not all sites offer. This makes Talkspace even more marketable to consumers who want to be able to access therapy privately and conveniently. It is a wonderful site with so much to offer those who are ready to delve into the therapy process.

How To Tell If You Have Health Anxiety

5 Ways to Beat Anxiety

If you have health anxiety, then there are a few telltale signs to watch out for. For instance, you may:

  • Frequently check your body for lumps, pain, or signs of illness
  • Research conditions and illnesses and try to diagnose your issues yourself
  • Constantly worry about your health and wellbeing
  • Feel fearful that you are going to catch some sort of bug or illness
  • Avoid things to do with serious illnesses such as movies and TV shows showing medical procedures or diseases
  • Avoid physical activities as if you were ill, or avoid hurting yourself
  • Seek reassurance that you are not unwell
  • Obsess over health information online or in magazines
  • Worry that a doctor has missed something on your check-up
  • Fearful that you have an undiagnosed, underlying condition

Health anxiety can negatively impact their mental health significantly, even leading to panic attacks and physical symptoms like a racing heartbeat or headaches and migraines.

Recommended Reading: How Does Therapy Help Depression

How To Overcome Health Anxiety: 3 Helpful Tips

Health anxiety is an obsessive and often irrational worry about suffering from serious medical conditions. It is more formally known as illness anxiety, and used to be known as hypochondriasis.

Someone who suffers from health anxiety will obsess over their health: from their normal body functions to contracting illnesses and diseases. They may frequently visit their physician or spend large amounts of time reading about their symptoms and possible conditions.

In severe cases, health anxiety can become disruptive to a persons life. It can interfere with their daily activities, hurt their work performance, and even cause strain in relationships. Fortunately, there are ways that you can cope with your health anxiety, including:

  • Changing your focus of attention
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Challenging your worrisome thoughts

Read on to learn more about each of these coping techniques in further detail alongside treatment options for health anxiety.

How To Beat Your Health Anxiety

May 12th, 2020

Were living in unprecedented times where even a minor health issue can send one into complete paranoia resulting in distressing assumptions about ones health.

With the entire country combating COVID19 and medical facilities overwhelmed, hypochondria-like symptoms are the last thing we want.

So, you need to know how to identify and tame a health scare, how NOT to assume that your mild fever and cold are signs of coronavirus.

Here are five tips to help you beat your health anxiety:

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Whats The Difference Between Concern For Your Health And Health Anxiety

If your body is sending you signs that youre ill, its normal to be concerned. Health anxiety is marked by constant belief that you have a symptom or symptoms of a severe illness. You may become so consumed by worry that the distress becomes disabling.

If youre concerned about your health, the rational thing to do is see your doctor. With health anxiety, youll feel extreme distress about your real or imagined symptoms even after medical test results come back negative and doctors reassure you that youre healthy.

This condition goes beyond having a normal concern for ones health. It has the potential to interfere with a persons quality of life, including their abilities to:

  • work in a professional or academic setting
  • function on a daily basis
  • create and maintain meaningful relationships

Stress Leads To More Symptoms

How to Beat Health Anxiety

Before long the stress led to more symptoms that seemed to warrant follow-up: insomnia, heart palpitations, irregular periods, and a constant stomachache. Over the next few years, I had pelvic ultrasounds, a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, a colposcopy, an EKG, and countless blood testsand nothing was wrong.

Most of the tests, I suspect, were ordered by my amazingly patient doctors to quell my fears. But the more testing I had, the more worried I became. Good test results were no solace during the three years it took my father to die and the grieving year afterward.

For people debilitated by hypochondria, antidepressants and therapy may help. But I never considered these options because, like so many hypochondriacs, I didn’t realize I was one.

What “cured” me is the fact that I didn’t die. Time passed after my father’s death, and I began to recognize the connection between my fears and my grief over his loss. I realized that even if I couldn’t banish that fear entirely, I could take steps to keep it from spiraling out of control.

Eventually, I stopped thinking of my body as a time bomb and began, finally, to think of it as the very thing that lets me live a happy life.

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Give Yourself A Bedtime

With your busy schedule, theres no time for sleep, right? Some workaholics brag about only needing three or four hours of sleep a night, as if to say, Im more determined and committed than everyone else. But no matter what you might tell yourself, youre not a robot. Humans need sleep to function properly, so unless you beamed in from some nearby planet, this also applies to you.

Whether you deal with insomnia, purposely limit your amount of sleep, or youre a self-professed night owl, chronic sleep deprivation makes you susceptible to anxiety. Do yourself a favor and get eight to nine hours of sleep every night. Develop a bedtime routine to read a book or do something relaxing before bed. The better prepared you are to get a good nights sleep, the better quality of sleep youll have, which leads to a better morning as well.

What Mental Health Issues Are Suitable For Online Services

Its easier to cite the mental health issues that are not suitable for online services. These include severe mental disorders, especially those where patients are highly dysfunctional or pose a threat to themselves or others, such as severe depression, schizophrenia, and other illnesses characterized by hallucinations, powerful delusions, or violent or antisocial behavior.

If you or someone you know is in danger of harming themselves or somebody else, contact emergency services immediately.

Otherwise, e-therapy can be helpful in a wide variety of scenarios, including but not limited to the following.

  • Clinical conditions: depression, anxiety, personality disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder , trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder , phobias, and addiction.

  • Life topics: Parenting, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy, body acceptance, life crises and transitions, stress and burnout, and self-esteem.

  • Specific approaches: cognitive behavioral therapy , psychodynamic therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing , psychoanalysis, etc.

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