How to Get Over the Stress of Health Anxiety
Google is a valuable tool, but Google has also caused the development of a serious problem for those that have been living with anxiety symptoms: severe health anxiety.
Health anxiety has always been a thing. It’s something that affects many people living with anxiety or panic attacks (especially panic attacks), because the symptoms of anxiety can feel so severe that many people struggle to believe that they’re anxiety related.
But what’s made it worse is the ability to Google symptoms. The biggest problem is not just hypochondria in the traditional sense – people aren’t necessarily looking up diseases and psychosomatically causing the symptoms of those diseases. Rather, severe anxiety can cause physical symptoms that genuinely resemble some very serious health problems, the most common being:
- Brain Tumors
- Heart Failure/Attack
It’s possible that symptoms mimic other diseases as well, like lime disease or some type of tumor. But those three health issues have nearly identical symptoms to anxiety, and so many people that suffer from anxiety eventually convince themselves that they have one of these disorders.
That can create some severe health anxiety, and severe health anxiety leads to even more physical symptoms. It’s not uncommon to find those living with health anxiety spending most of every day thinking about their health.
Stopping the Cycle of Health Anxiety
Health anxiety can be very hard to turn off. Seeing your doctor is step one. Remember, your doctor has seen people with MS, brain tumors, and heart attacks. If they’re worried, they’ll order tests. If they’re not worried, they won’t.
Trust your doctor. If they don’t order a CT scan, chances are it’s because they’ve seen people with MS and brain tumors and your issues seem like anxiety. It’s easy to tell yourself “they didn’t check, so it’s still there” but doctors are trained to look for medically serious issues, and if they’re not worried, you shouldn’t be either.
Your next steps are to try each of the following:
- Start Exercising – This is incredibly important. Exercise is a profound stress reduction tool, and it will give you the opportunity to focus on your health more so that you will worry about it less in the future. Exercising releases endorphins which reduce anxiety, and the more you are dedicated to your health, the less you’ll be bothered with health stress.
- Participate in Anxiety Forums – There are several valuable anxiety forums filled with people that dealt with your exact same thoughts. Participating in those forums can be a lifesaver, as many of them will share how their stories are exactly like yours and how they were finally able to accept that they have anxiety.
- Learn About Health Anxiety – Did you know that you can suffer from severe anxiety physical symptoms even when know anxiety is present? One of the main contributors to health anxiety is how hard it is to believe that the frightening symptoms you experience are caused by anxiety.
Anxiety treatments need to focus on two things: Coming to the realization that it’s highly unlikely that you have any health problem, and realizing that you need to stop concerning yourself with your health.
The latter is another issues that those with health anxiety need to realize: You probably don’t have MS, or a brain tumor, or a serious heart condition (especially if the doctor has ruled them out). But you could get them tomorrow, because anyone can get them at any time. The question you need to ask yourself is: if tomorrow you did get a serious health problem, do you want to look back at your past and realize that you spent all your time worrying about your health?
Your goal is to live a happy life. Those with health anxiety need to realize that every day spent obsessing over their health is a day wasted in the event they did have a health problem. As long as you’re exercising, eating healthy, and going to the doctor for regular checkups, you’re doing everything you can. Learn to spend the rest of your time in a way that makes you happy.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera’s severe panic attack symptoms caused him significant health anxiety. He now writes on a website about anxiety at calmclinic.com
Thanks for a wonderful article Ryan – some great tips there.
Find out how EFT can help with anxiety/panic attacks.