Fear of disease … He returned from the doctor’s office after performing all the necessary tests that were sound, but he cannot stop worrying and fear of the presence of a disease and a health condition that the medicine cannot detect, she suffers from a phobia of disease, she goes to the hospital for examination as a result of the slightest symptoms of sneezing – Headache – insomnia …
He lost his father due to an illness and since then appeared he had an abnormal fear of contracting some disease, anxiety that makes him think that he is sick, so he always searches the Internet for the symptoms of various diseases, whatever the doctor tells her that the results of the tests are sound, she can only think that there is a serious problem and the doctor hides Command …
Fear of hypochondria
Everyone feels fear and anxiety about their health – they go to clinics or hospitals to get the necessary tests, but the situation is different for people who suffer from a phobia.
Phobia of disease / fear of disease, which is a disorder in which the patient suffers from a constant belief that he has a serious disease or health condition, and the patient usually focuses on normal body functions (respiratory rate – heartbeat – blood pressure …) in addition to simple signs and abnormalities (pimples – dehydration Besides the various pains (headache – stomach ache …).
The patient’s anxiety may also involve a certain disease more than others in an exaggerated manner, such as fear of the presence of cancer, and obtaining medical examinations and their appearance does not rid them of this fear, but rather it becomes an additional source of concern about the presence of a disease that medicine cannot detect or that he is already suffering from a disease Dangerous and everyone around him works to hide the matter from him.
Fear of disease can appear at any age, but it usually occurs after puberty and on average between (25 to 35 years) and may decrease with age, but it rarely disappears completely, and most of the time it begins after the injury of the same person or someone he knows. With an illness, or after losing a loved one due to a serious health condition.
The phobia of illness exaggerates a person’s work life and his social relationships. He may avoid being with other people or interacting with them because of his fear of transmitting an infection to him.
About 88% of people who suffer from FPD also suffer from other disorders, such as: anxiety disorder (71%) – panic disorder (16.7%) – obsessive-compulsive disorder – depression (42.9%). It showed that patients with these disorders are 3 times more likely to have a phobia than others, and every year about 200,000 people are diagnosed with ALD.
You can read the study on mental disorders and pathophobia at //www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/phobia
Symptoms of hypochondria or disease phobia
The patient suffers from a number of symptoms and shows a group of behaviors that have a negative impact on his life in various aspects, the most important of these symptoms and behaviors:
- Excessive and persistent fear and anxiety of the presence of a health problem or a serious disease, so that this situation lasts for at least 6 months (the disease that the patient fears may vary, but anxiety continues).
- Anxiety can itself cause physical symptoms of pain and disturbance in bodily functions, but it is not the result of a specific disease or serious health condition.
- Exaggerated focus on the symptoms of the body and its natural state: measuring blood pressure several times a day – checking breathing rate and heart rate – measuring weight several times during very close periods …
- The fear of a certain disease or health problems persists despite the fact that the tests indicate a normal state of health.
- The lack of results indicating the presence of the disease may be one of the factors that increase the severity of the phobia, as the patient may be concerned about the existence of a rare or new disease that doctors cannot detect, or the doctor and people close to the patient may be working to hide the disease so that he does not feel anxious or for negative reasons. He thinks they don’t want him to undergo treatment in time.
- Exaggerated fear of transmission.
- Visiting the doctor frequently or getting an examination for the same symptoms, but by more than one doctor.
- On the contrary, it may be noted that the patient avoids visiting the doctor and avoiding obtaining medical examinations, because he is afraid of discovering a serious disease that threatens his life.
- Avoid people and places and be in environments that could be unhealthy.
- Research the patient about the symptoms of various diseases, especially those that he fears their presence, in medical books and references or on the Internet.
- The presence of other disorders: panic disorder – anxiety – fear of germs – depression – phobia of death …
- Negative habits such as drugs and alcohol create hallucinations in the patient.
Causes of fear of hypochondria
The exact cause of this phobia is still not clear, but there are a number of factors that stimulate the emergence of this disorder and play a large role in that, namely:
- The inability to overcome the belief in the existence of a specific disease: that is, the presence of certainty of suffering from a specific disease with the inability to overcome it, and this belief is often based on physical symptoms that are already present but not caused by a serious disease, but the patient continues to search for evidence that confirms Associated with a more serious health condition.
- Genetic factors and the family atmosphere: Genetic factors play a big role, in addition to being affected by the family atmosphere, so the presence of a person or if the parents exaggerate concern about their health, this increases the possibility of exposure to a disease phobia.
- Exposure to trauma or a traumatic experience: such as exposure of the same person to a serious illness in the past that threatened his life or made him experience difficult symptoms, or a person close to him (often a member of his family) became seriously ill and suffered with symptoms or death.
- Family medical history: The presence of hereditary diseases can stimulate disease phobia, as a person may suffer from anxiety about having a specific disease because the possibility of infection with it is high due to his presence in his first-degree relatives, such as: (cancer – diabetes – stress …).
- Lifestyle characterized by stress, fatigue, fatigue and speed.
- Childhood and the person’s exposure to abuse or neglect.
- The disease is widely spread and intimidated by the media and social networking sites.
- The presence of other psychological disorders that increase a person’s exposure to a phobia: anxiety disorder – fear and panic disorder – obsessive-compulsive disorder – depression.
- The presence of other types of phobia: phobia of death – phobia of insects – fear of injections – phobia of drugs …
Diagnosis of fear of illness disorder
The diagnosis of phobia is based on the symptoms that the patient is experiencing and his behavior, and this can be done by people close to the patient or by the patient himself.
In general, the most important information that the doctor needs are: symptoms, their nature and frequency – the patient’s behaviors such as increasing several doctors without a serious health condition or disease – frequent visit to the doctor without the presence of justifiable symptoms – the patient’s complaint of certain symptoms without the presence of diseases that cause them – the effects of disease phobia On the patient’s social and work life, such as pushing him to quit his previous job – having other psychological and personal disorders – family history.
Treating disease phobia and dealing with it
Previously, it was believed that it was not possible to cure the disease, but recently many treatments have shown the possibility of dealing with this phobia and the symptoms that accompany it, namely:
- CBT cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps the patient to be able to control and manage reactions of anxiety and fear of diseases, so that he can view the natural and simple symptoms as a health condition, in addition to dealing with the results of the tests objectively. Treatment can reduce symptoms as well as treat them.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are also known as antidepressants that affect serotonin in the brain, the most important examples being sertraline (Zoloft) – paroxetine (Paxil) – fluoxetine (Prozac).
- In the event that you suffer from a fear of illness disorder, as a first step, you must obtain the required medical examination to rule out any diseases, and then obtain help from a mental health expert, so treatment must be confirmed because this disorder negatively affects your life.
- Make sure to choose a therapist that you trust and feel comfortable to receive treatment from, and perhaps it is one of the important points that has a great impact on the quality of treatment.
- Group therapy sessions, although the usual and widespread psychotherapy are individual sessions, but group therapy sessions with other patients can be more effective when you share what you are experiencing and feel that you are not the only one.
- Neuro-linguistic programming is a type of treatment that is based on creating a firm belief indicating that the patient is in good health and that he has overcome his fear and anxiety. I am grateful that my health is in perfect condition ”…
- Exposure therapy, which depends on facing conditions and passing through physical and psychological symptoms that will give the patient experience and certainty that it is a medical condition and that it does not indicate a specific health problem. Exposure therapy may initially be a source of concern, but soon the anxiety dissipates and the patient acquires the courage to confront his fears.
- Reducing stress triggers and stimuli that increase anxiety and severity of symptoms, such as: abstaining from smoking – limiting the amount of caffeine consumed – adopting a healthy diet – having meditation and relaxation sessions
We all worry about the health condition, but it does not reach the point of obsession, but with this, and if you suffer or know someone who suffers from a fear of illness disorder, you do not have to worry.
More types of phobia:
- Trypophobia or trypophobia
- Treating phobia from closed spaces without the help of a psychotherapist
- Information about phobia of high places, methods of prevention and treatment