Hypochondria – Fear of Illness

If you have ever met someone who suffers from hypochondria, you might have thought them a bit odd, funny even, for worrying that every little thing that could go wrong, will go wrong.

      Don’t get cold you’ll catch a cold; don’t go out in the rain you’ll get sick; don’t touch that dirty door handle you’ll get germs; cover that toilet seat with paper and don’t dare let your bottom touch the seat or you’ll get horrible germs; wash your hands, have you washed your hands?

      Use hand sanitizer and so on and so forth, until you feel like you can’t do anything without running the risk of the most dire infection that might leave you dying a ghastly death.

Also read this article on hypochondria


How does a hypochondriac develop this phobia of illness?

For the hypochondriac, there is nothing funny about constantly worrying over their own health or that of a child, niece or nephew, or family member.  So, how might this illness develop?

Take a look at this too: Fear of Cancer Recurrence

  • He or she has recovered from a very serious illness and they never want to go through that again
  • They may know someone who has suffered a debilitating disease and are worried that they may contract it
  • This phobia may have been learnt from a family member or relative.  Imagine growing up with the litany of worries and fears about germs and how it may adversely affect growing young minds.
  • Approximately 60% of people with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, also suffer from hypochondria, so treatments that assist these illnesses may also assist in treating hypochondria.

Check this out – Mind Body Healing

What can be done about hypochondriasis?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may focus on treating beliefs about illness with rational logical substitutes, and at the same time provide relaxation training so that the body begins to calm down and then the mind with it. 

When someone feels extremely emotional, it is nearly impossible to think straight unless you have been trained to respond with clarity and acuity. Fighter pilots are trained to respond clearly without emotional panic, as are the armed forces and medical and emergency staff, for example.

Could you learn to be emotionally calm?

Some medications used to treat depression and anxiety may also have an impact on hypochondria, particularly the class of anti-depressants known as SSRI’s because they reduce obsessive thoughts or obsessive rumination on potential illness.

I would always recommend hypnosis to assist in getting to the root of the problem and allaying those fears with lots of statements around being safe, about having survived thus far, about having recovered, about being free from the prison of your own mind that is maintaining your unhealthy mind.  For the person experiencing hypochondriasis, no amount of reassurance from their doctor, laboratory tests or experts will take their fears away, which makes hypnosis all the more valuable as a tool for therapy. 

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

From the field of NLP, there are several techniques that may be very useful for working on hypochondria, such as the Phobia Cure, the Swish Pattern, and Parts Integration to get every part of your sub-conscious aspects onside and working with you, instead of having internal conflict over hypochondria.

Appointments are available in Darwin and on Skype for help with fears and phobias.

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