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How to Cure Hypochondria

Hypochondria

A hypochondriac is often the subject of comedy, but being one is no laughing matter. He tends to misinterpret normal body sensations as signs of illness, often with an unshakable focus on a particular symptom. His fear of being seriously ill persists despite his physician’s assurance that physical examinations and often exhaustive diagnostic procedures reveal no problem.

Hypochondriacs may become angry and frustrated because they believe they are not receiving proper diagnosis or proper treatment. Their continued preoccupation with the fear of having a dread disease often reaches the point where it impairs their stability to work, their family relationships and social life.

Hypochondria is a psychiatric disorder, often associated with anxiety and depression, and may represent a desire to avoid problems by focusing on bodily symptoms. But it is often unidentified as a psychiatric disorder because patients are more likely to visit family physicians or other specialists.

Two types of hypochondria have been identified; primary hypochondria, which starts in the early years and continues throughout life; and secondary hypochondria when a person may have bean conditioned by his early environment to be sensitive to his bodily functions, perhaps because someone in his home had a chronic illness or symptoms were part of his daily life. This behavior is often learned from a relative who was also a hypochondriac. Some literature reports that hypochondria occurs almost equally in men and women, while other studies report that it occurs slightly more often in men than women, for no known reason. It peaks among males in their 30s and in females in their 40s.

Hypochondriacs often place themselves at risk by taking a great number of medications and submitting to many invasive procedures.

How can hypochondriacs cure hypochondria?

Some suggestions for curing hypochondria include: scheduled visits to their doctor for periodic checkups; exercise, after consulting with their doctors; developing a satisfying hobby; planning a wide range of activities to divert their attention from their bodies; and psychotherapy, coupled with stress management and relaxation and biofeedback training, which may help reduce anxiety as well as divert attention from bodily functions.

When dealing with a family member or friend who suffers from hypochondria, continue to be supportive, but avoid conversation centered on medical complaints, and seek a pleasant activity to share.

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