How Do I Avoid Health Anxiety?

The fear and worry that occurs in response to living with a chronic illness have been called health anxiety. It consists of distressing emotions, thoughts of danger, and physiological arousal.

Fears and constant worry about the disease or its symptoms returning or progressing are ubiquitous among patients who live with a chronic illness. It is considered normal in response to living with a chronic disease. However, sometimes it gets exaggerated, affecting the quality of life and daily functioning.

Cognitive behavior therapy is a highly efficacious and probably cost-effective treatment for health anxiety. Stress management, mindfulness training, and acceptance and commitment therapy, given either individually, in groups is believed to be effective.

Medications can supplement cognitive therapy. Regular check-ins by healthcare providers, appropriate guidance and communication strategies can help to improve the condition. Avoiding excessive reassurance, and responding well to patient’s concerns and educating the family about how to respond are some of the treatment approaches followed.

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