Patient

Have you ever claimed you were sick at 99 degrees, or believed your tummy ache is the sign of something bigger? Sure, we’ve all exaggerated our aches and pains and claimed we are sicker than it seems, but these are also common signs of hypochondria. According to MayoClinic’s Web site, hypochondria is a chronic mental illness, in which people fear they have an undiagnosed serious or life-threatening disease. Experts have linked hypochondria to obsessive-compulsive disorder, because they both exhibit debilitating and overwhelming effects on the human body and mind. If you find yourself endlessly seeking medical care for a condition that doctors say you don’t have, you may be one of the many people who are suffering from hypochondria. Here are 10 signs you’re a hypochondriac:

  • You’re fearful or anxious about having an undiagnosed disease or condition
    Those with hypochondria believe they have an underlying disease or life-threatening condition, based on normal bodily sensations, pains or symptoms. Whether you’ve had a previous health condition or are healthy as can be, the fear of your undiagnosed disease continues to eat at you. If you find yourself excessively fearful or anxious about your health and are convinced that you have a disease, you may be a hypochondriac.
  • You worry that every sensation or symptom means you are sick
    No matter how minor the pain, twitch or sensation is, you think this means you may have a serious disease. For example, a headache means you have a brain tumor, or an upset stomach means you have a digestive condition or cancer. If you find yourself obsessing over certain feelings or sensations and worrying that you’re sick, you may be a hypochondriac.
  • You go to the doctor and seek examinations repeatedly
    In an effort to find the underlying disease or life-threatening condition you think you have, you’ll visit the doctor repeatedly to have tests, examinations and analyses done. If you find yourself visiting the doctor more often than usual and leaving their office with a clean bill of health, but continue to believe you’re sick, you might be a hypochondriac.
  • You switch doctors often
    When you’re convinced that you have a life-threatening disease and your current doctor tells you that you’re healthy and nothing is wrong, but you continue to switch doctors, hoping one will find something, you may be a hypochondriac. You may become frustrated with doctors and health care because you feel you aren’t receiving proper treatment, despite the doctor’s reassurance that you are well.
  • You have social anxiety and strained relationships
    Thinking you’re always sick takes a toll on your social life and relationships. You may find yourself staying at home a lot, avoiding social interaction and ignoring friends, family and others for various health and anxiety reasons. If you’re unable to find happiness spending time with your loved ones and all you can think about is your life-threatening disease, then you may be a hypochondriac.
  • You obsess over health research
    When doctors turn you away or refuse further examinations, you may do thorough health research of your own. You may go to the Internet, read health books or watch television shows that explain symptoms and diseases you think you have. After your research, you are convinced that you have an illness that you read or heard about.
  • You obsessively check your body for signs
    Your heightened body awareness leads you to obsessively check your body for problem signs, such as lumps, bumps, sores, bruises to support your belief that you have a condition or deadly disease. Even when your doctor says the bump is nothing to worry about, you continue to seek examinations and further consultations.
  • You frequently check your vital signs
    Whenever you’re not having a doctor or nurse do it, you have your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and other vital signs checked. Checking your vital signs allows you to take your health into your own hands and keep a close eye on these bodily functions. Whenever you spot any irregularities, you’ll have a reason to go to the doctor.
  • You experience emotional distress
    Your excessive fear and anxiety that you may be seriously ill can cause major emotional distress, such as depression, anger and frustration, as well as obsessive/compulsive behaviors and stress. If you are experiencing similar signs of emotional distress, you might be a hypochondriac.
  • You have substance abuse problems
    If you find yourself abusing any substance, including alcohol, illegal substances and over-the-counter medicine like painkillers, Tylenol or Advil, you may be exhibiting signs of a hypochondriac. The emotional distress, anxiety and pain that stems from this mental illness may push you towards abusing substances.

Filed under: Healthcare Administration

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