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Counselling for Health Anxiety

Do you worry too much about your health? We can help. 

What is Health Anxiety?

We all worry about our own health and well-being from time to time, but when those worries get excessive, it can be a sign of something more serious.

 

Health anxiety is a condition marked by experiencing excessive worry or preoccupation about your health. You may frequently interpret naturally occurring sensations as symptoms of a severe illness. Health anxiety can be very mentally exhausting and continues even when medical evaluation rules out the presence of disease. 


You don’t need to let anxiety over your health rule your life. Book a consultation today with one of our mental health specialists who can help you learn tools to overcome this condition.

 

 

Commons Signs and Symptoms

Health anxiety is marked by constant worry that you may have symptoms of a serious illness. 

Thoughts 

  1. Preoccupation with health: The person may spend a lot of time thinking about their health and constantly searching for information about illnesses or medical conditions.

  2. Excessive worry: The person may worry excessively about their health, even when there are no signs or symptoms of a medical condition.

Physical 

Some people may experience a condition known as somatic symptom disorder. This disorder involves focusing on the disabling nature of symptoms without worrying about the diagnosis of a specific disease. The commons symptoms include:

  • headaches,

  • muscle tension

  • or stomach problems

 

Behavioural 

  1. The person may frequently visit their doctor, seeking reassurance that they are not seriously ill.

  2. The person may frequently check their body for signs of illness, such as lumps or bumps.

  3. Avoidance of medical situations: The person may avoid medical situations, such as getting routine check-ups or medical tests, because of their fear of finding out something is wrong.

  4. Health anxiety can interfere with the person's daily life, causing them to have difficulty concentrating or performing tasks.

  5. The person may withdraw from social situations due to their fear of getting sick or spreading an illness.

 

Health anxiety can be very disruptive to a person’s life and be a significant cause of distress. People with health anxiety often experience a gradual decline in their quality of life as symptoms escalate over time.

What Causes Health Anxiety?

There isn’t one exact for this type of anxiety. People may develop anxiety over their health due to a combination of factors such as:

 

  • Family history: You are at a higher risk of developing health anxiety if you have a family member preoccupied with health symptoms and illness, or family with an anxiety or mood disorder.

  • Exposure to Trauma: Trauma experienced in childhood, such as physical or sexual abuse, can increase your likelihood of developing health anxiety. People who were sick in childhood may also be at increased risk of this anxiety. You may also become excessively anxious about health after experiencing major life changes, stress, or trauma later in life.

  • Biochemical Factors: Health anxiety is linked to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain involved with mood and fear responses. People may also be more susceptible to excessive worry due to differences in their brain architecture. 

  • Environmental Factors: Characteristics of your environment may increase your risk of health anxiety or make symptoms worse. Some environmental risks include having overprotective parents, sickness in the family, previous illness, a poor support system, difficult relationships, instability, and major life stress. 

  • Negative information from the media or internet: Health narratives disseminated through various media channels, including the internet, often highlight rare diseases, incurable health issues, and fatal conditions. Although such cases do exist, the media's occasional emphasis on these improbable conditions and events can instill doubt in the quality of our healthcare.

Health anxiety can make you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted. Seeking counselling is one of the best ways to learn how to manage your symptoms and get your life back.

 

 

How Does Counselling & Therapy for Health Anxiety Work?

Given that individuals can experience both anxiety and a genuine medical condition, it is crucial to conduct a comprehensive physical examination to rule out any underlying health problems. Once this evaluation is completed, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) emerges as the most successful approach for treating various types of anxiety, including health-related anxiety.

Therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are very effective for the treatment of health anxiety. Many of the ways we interpret events and deal with our problems can be unhelpful or even harmful to our well-being. In CBT, your therapist will work with you to identify any negative thinking or behavioural patterns and help you learn more helpful ways of viewing your world and tackling your problems. In therapy, you will learn other ways to look at your body sensations by challenging unhelpful thoughts and reframing your experiences. 

Counselling for Health Anxiety in Vaughan & Toronto

 

We are the largest counselling service provider in the Vaughan and Toronto area with over 18 years of experience. Our team of therapists specializes in helping clients identify the roots of their struggles and learn effective tools for overcoming them. 

If you have experienced trauma, our team of therapists specializes in helping clients identify the roots of their struggles and learn practical tools for overcoming them. 


Reach out today to book a session with one of our Toronto or Vaughan counsellors and let a trained professional help you navigate your symptoms and start living your life again.

Sources:

https://dictionary.apa.org/health-anxiety

Health Anxiety & How to Beat it 

How Health Anxiety Develops

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