Health Anxiety is similar to the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder category of Anxiety Disorders. Basically, the thoughts involved are obsessive and cyclical. There is a trigger (perceived symptom), corresponding thoughts (intrusive and scary), an action (to reduce anxiety which only works short term) and repeat. People who have Health Anxiety often understand that their thoughts aren't logical, but regardless, they can't stop thinking that they are sick and/or dying and consequently feel as though they are. Health Anxiety can be debilitating. People with Health Anxiety may visit the doctor often, and have trouble believing that there is no medical issue, even after reassurance from their doctor. They may be temporarily relieved by the reassurance only to begin to wonder if something has been missed, or if the results were interpreted correctly. Health Anxiety is complicated and sneaky, but with help and commitment, it can be well managed if not overcome.
Health Anxiety gets a special place here at Anxiety Anchor. For a long time, it was something I lived with daily and it affected all aspects of my life. With time, education, practice and patience however, I have come to see it for what it really is and I have learned how to dramatically limit it's influence in my life. If you suffer from Health Anxiety, I can help you do the same.