Health Anxiety web ntw nhs uk

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Introduction 4,Isn t it normal to worry about health 5. When does worrying about our health become a 5,What are the signs of health anxiety 5. Am I suffering from health anxiety 6,What causes health anxiety 8. What keeps health anxiety going 9, What are the things I might be doing that keep health 10. anxiety going,How can I manage my health anxiety 16.
Why should I try and stop worrying about my health 17. How can I stop asking for reassurance 18,How can I stop my focus on symptoms and the 19. How can I stop myself finding out too much about 19. How can I stop behaving as if I am ill 20, How can I alter worrying thoughts about my health 22. Further help 24,Useful organisations 25,Useful books and websites 27. Mindfulness downloads 28,Relaxation downloads 28,References 28. Rate this guide 28, I am always at the doctor s surgery That is because at the time.
I am quite sure there is something seriously wrong with me. Last time it was tingling in my hands and arms I thought it was. the first sign of something like M S and before I knew it I was. picturing the worst The doctor did some tests and said it was. nothing to worry about At first I felt better but this week I have. had a headache too maybe I should go back just to make. I often have worrying symptoms that must be the sign of. something serious The doctors have found nothing yet I make. sure that I rest a lot so I don t strain myself I don t travel away. from my own town I want to be near our own doctors My wife. tells me nothing is wrong but that only makes me feel better for. a few minutes I just feel I must keep checking how I am every. These are the thoughts of two people who suffer from health. anxiety That means that they worry a lot about their health. This focus on health makes their symptoms seem worse Much. of their time is taken up with these worries Reassurance from a. doctor that nothing is wrong doesn t seem to help for long. If you find yourself with many troublesome worries about your. health you may be experiencing health anxiety This booklet. can help you to work out if health anxiety is a problem for you It. describes the signs of health anxiety and suggests ways of. managing this difficulty which may help you overcome the. problem You may already know you have a problem with. health anxiety but hopefully this booklet may help you. understand it and manage it better,Isn t it normal to worry about health. We all worry about our health from time to time For example if. we had to go into hospital for an operation or if we are recalled. by our doctor following tests Worrying about our health can. lead us to improve our lifestyle for example to give up smoking. or to eat a healthy diet In fact looking after our health by. having regular health checks and being aware of changes in. our body is very important,When does worrying about our health become a. Health worries become a problem when they begin to get in the. way of normal life even though any serious physical cause for. symptoms has been ruled out Severe health anxiety can also. be a sign of a serious depression I you are also very. depressed then please speak to your GP about this, This booklet may also help people who do have a physical. health problem but find that they worry too much about it. What are the signs of health anxiety, You may be experiencing health anxiety if you worry about your. health a lot of the time when there is no medical reason to do. this and how you lead your life is affected by this You may often. seek comfort or reassurance from other people that everything is. alright This may be from family friends or your doctor. You may find you are checking your body for symptoms and. that the more you check the more you seem to notice strange. feelings or lumps in your body You may avoid certain activities. as if you were ill and you may avoid anything to do with illness. e g information or medical programmes on the television. On the other hand some people with health anxieties find. themselves drawn to any information about illnesses and can. begin to notice the signs of such illness in themselves. Am I suffering from health anxiety, Anxiety of any sort can affect us in at least four different ways It.
The way we feel,The way we think,The way our body works. The way we behave, In order to check out whether you may be suffering from health. anxiety please place a tick next to those symptoms you. experience regularly,How you feel,Anxious nervous worried frightened. A feeling of dread,Tense stressed uptight on edge unsettled. Unreal strange woozy detached,Feeling tired or unwell.
Angry that people think your symptoms are all in your head. How you think,Constantly worrying about health, Picturing upsetting things in the future such as being. diagnosed with a serious illness and the effect of this on. your loved ones,Imagining the worst and dwelling on it. Thinking about illnesses and symptoms,Concentrating on parts of your body and symptoms. Thinking that the doctor may be able to help, Thinking that if you don t worry you are tempting fate. Worrying that the doctor may have missed something. Believing that unless you keep an eye on things you may. miss signs of a serious illness, Believing that you may have something terribly wrong but.
you don t want to think about it, Thinking that your family friends may know if this symptom. seems serious, Wishing you could visit the doctor but fearing you are now. thought of as a time waster or someone not to be taken. Common thoughts and images,This must be cancer,I feel so unwell it must be serious. Surely a headache like this can t be just stress, That tingling seems like it may be the first sign of a stroke. I may die if I don t do something, Doctors often miss illnesses despite examinations and.
Some new symptoms have come since I last spoke with. the doctor it may be more serious than he thought, A picture in my mind of the doctor telling me that I have a. terminal illness,A vivid image of my own funeral,What you do. Go to the doctor s surgery frequently,Ask family and friends for reassurance about your. Frequently check your body for symptoms such as lumps or. bumps tingling and pain, Focus on one area of the body for changing sensations. Avoid any information on serious illnesses e g turn the TV. off if a hospital programme is on, Seek out any information on serious illnesses and check.
for those symptoms books Internet TV, Act as if you were ill for example avoiding exertion or. exercise keeping near to home resting,What happens to your body. These symptoms are typical in all types of anxiety. Odd sensations in various parts of body,Body aching. Breathing changes,Chest feeling tight or painful,Dizzy light headed. Feeling jumpy or restless,Having to go to the toilet frequently.
Heart pounding racing skipping a beat,Stomach churning butterflies. Tense muscles,Tingling or numbness in toes fingers or arms. If you are regularly suffering from some or all of these. symptoms then it is possible that you are suffering from health. What causes health anxiety, There can be many reasons why someone starts worrying too. much about their health If you are suffering from health anxiety. you may have had a period of ill health or a serious health. problem which has left you fearing the worst or you may have. gone through a particularly difficult period of your life which has. resulted in a lot of stress related symptoms which can be. worrying there may have been illness or death in your family. possibly where early symptoms were missed or another family. member may have worried a lot about their or your health when. you were young, All of these can make it more likely that someone will develop. health anxiety,What keeps health anxiety going, People with health anxiety have their normal day to day life.
badly affected by their worries about health This often. continues despite tests and reassurances that nothing serious. In health anxiety a vicious circle keeps the problem. From this vicious circle of health anxiety we can see that. there are certain things that keep a health anxiety going. What are the things I might be doing that keep health. anxiety going, Everyone has different worries but there are six main things. that you may tend to do that will keep health anxiety as a major. problem for you We will describe each in turn and you may. want to jot down your own particular difficulties in each area. This will begin to help you to be clear what difficulties you need. to work on with the help of later parts of this booklet. 1 Focus on symptoms and the body checking and,monitoring. When we focus on one part of the body we tend to notice. physical sensations and symptoms that we were unaware of. before and even bumps and lumps in that body part The more. you focus on one area or symptom the more you notice it. Think of what happens when someone mentions head lice. People with health anxiety tend to find these normal symptoms. and sensations worrying and check them very frequently This. focus can also include squeezing prodding scratching and. mirror gazing Which of course makes the symptoms worse. Do you have a symptom sensation body part or lump, bump that you have focused on a lot It may help to. write it down,2 Worrying thoughts about symptoms and health. information, People with health anxiety tend to have unhelpful thoughts and.
pictures in their mind about bodily symptoms and other health. information These thoughts are very repetitive occurring again. and again though not often accurate Here are some examples of. common unhelpful thinking styles in people with health anxiety. Jumping to conclusions, If the doctor sent me for tests she must be really worried. A headache like that must be something serious, Do you ever think like this if yes jot down your thoughts. Catastrophising,It could kill me in months, Picturing how my children will be left without a mother before. they are at school,Imagining my wife and children at my funeral. If you ever think like this jot down those thoughts or. images here,All or nothing thinking, If I have any symptoms then there must be something.
seriously wrong with me, I need to have all possible tests or else something may have. been missed, If you have had similar thoughts jot them down here. Emotional Reasoning, I feel something is wrong so there must be something. I just know this symptom must be caused by a serious. If you have had similar thoughts jot them down here. Ruminating or repetitive thinking, Thoughts going round and round in your mind with no. The same worries coming back again and again,3 Getting reassurance or comfort from others.
It is common for people to seek reassurance from others if they. are worried People with health anxiety often seek comfort from. friends and family or their doctor This reassurance works at. first and they feel a little less worried This does not last and the. worry is soon back People can get into a habit of asking for. reassurance very often This keeps the symptoms very much in. their mind and usually makes them feel even worse in the long. term If reassurance does not work for you the first or second. time it may actually be keeping your worry going,Write down who you ask to give comfort and. reassurance for health worries and how often you ask. them to reassure you,4 Finding out about illness, Sometimes finding out too much information about illness can. increase worries and make people focus on new symptoms or. body areas Books magazines partial information from your. doctor and particularly the internet can lead to this. Write down some times you may have done this,5 Avoidance. Sometimes avoiding things to do with illness can keep your. worries going for example you may turn the TV over as. Casualty comes on or shut a newspaper that describes AIDS. Sometimes people also avoid exercise or activity because of a. fear that it will bring on illness This can lead to low mood and. an increase of symptoms because of loss of fitness. Can you think of times when you may have avoided, information or activities because of worries about your. 6 Deeper beliefs that make you likely to worry about. Certain long held beliefs can lead us to have health. anxieties Some examples are, Bodily changes are always a sign that something is wrong.
If I worry about it then at least I m prepared for the worst. I m prone to cancer heart problems stroke we have a family. history of it and I m sure to get it,Doctors often make mistakes. Extensive tests are the only way to know you are well. If I m not 100 sure that I am well then I am likely to be ill I. can t risk that,To summarise, Worrying about health is quite normal from time to time. Health anxiety becomes a problem when it gets in the way of. normal life even though there is no evidence to suggest. anything is seriously wrong,People with health anxiety often. Seek comfort or reassurance from others,Frequently check their body for symptoms. Avoid information about health or seek out too much. information,Avoid activity as if they were ill, Have unrealistic worrying thoughts and beliefs about health.
anxiety please place a tick next to those symptoms you experience regularly How you feel Anxious nervous worried frightened A feeling of dread Tense stressed uptight on edge unsettled Unreal strange woozy detached Panicky Feeling tired or unwell Angry that people think your symptoms are all in your head How you think Constantly worrying about health Picturing upsetting things

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