Excessive Anxiety About Health Concerns

Reviewed Aug 10, 2016

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Summary

Treatment options traditionally include talk therapy and/or medicine.

If you or a loved one:

  • worries excessively about your health
  • reads and rereads lots of health information
  • feels convinced that you will get or already have a serious disease
  • does not believe medical opinions or lab results that claim you are healthy
  • thinks that people dismiss your health concerns

then you might have a medical condition called illness anxiety disorder. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you may want to tell your doctor your concerns.

The Internet and illness anxiety disorder

Illness anxiety disorder can get worse if you spend lots of time researching health problems on the Internet. ("Cyberchondria" is a term often used when reading health information on the Internet. This can cause worry, but it is not a medical term.)

While easy access to health information helps many, it can be bad for those with illness anxiety disorder. Information alone isn’t the problem—the level of worry it provokes is.

For example, you decide to research causes of an upset stomach. You may find a list of 40 reasons for stomach upset, some quite serious. This can cause you anxiety symptoms such as racing pulse, headache and chest pain. Now you have even more symptoms that convince you that something is wrong with you.

Treatment

If you find it hard to stop researching diseases and self-diagnosing, talk to your doctor about it. She may suggest an evaluation to help make the diagnosis. Treatments traditionally include talk therapy and/or taking medicine.

By Bethanne Kelly Patrick and Joel Yager, MD
Reviewed by Todd Kasdan, MD, Medical Director, Illinois Mental Health Collaborative, ValueOptions Inc.

Summary

Treatment options traditionally include talk therapy and/or medicine.

If you or a loved one:

  • worries excessively about your health
  • reads and rereads lots of health information
  • feels convinced that you will get or already have a serious disease
  • does not believe medical opinions or lab results that claim you are healthy
  • thinks that people dismiss your health concerns

then you might have a medical condition called illness anxiety disorder. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you may want to tell your doctor your concerns.

The Internet and illness anxiety disorder

Illness anxiety disorder can get worse if you spend lots of time researching health problems on the Internet. ("Cyberchondria" is a term often used when reading health information on the Internet. This can cause worry, but it is not a medical term.)

While easy access to health information helps many, it can be bad for those with illness anxiety disorder. Information alone isn’t the problem—the level of worry it provokes is.

For example, you decide to research causes of an upset stomach. You may find a list of 40 reasons for stomach upset, some quite serious. This can cause you anxiety symptoms such as racing pulse, headache and chest pain. Now you have even more symptoms that convince you that something is wrong with you.

Treatment

If you find it hard to stop researching diseases and self-diagnosing, talk to your doctor about it. She may suggest an evaluation to help make the diagnosis. Treatments traditionally include talk therapy and/or taking medicine.

By Bethanne Kelly Patrick and Joel Yager, MD
Reviewed by Todd Kasdan, MD, Medical Director, Illinois Mental Health Collaborative, ValueOptions Inc.

Summary

Treatment options traditionally include talk therapy and/or medicine.

If you or a loved one:

  • worries excessively about your health
  • reads and rereads lots of health information
  • feels convinced that you will get or already have a serious disease
  • does not believe medical opinions or lab results that claim you are healthy
  • thinks that people dismiss your health concerns

then you might have a medical condition called illness anxiety disorder. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you may want to tell your doctor your concerns.

The Internet and illness anxiety disorder

Illness anxiety disorder can get worse if you spend lots of time researching health problems on the Internet. ("Cyberchondria" is a term often used when reading health information on the Internet. This can cause worry, but it is not a medical term.)

While easy access to health information helps many, it can be bad for those with illness anxiety disorder. Information alone isn’t the problem—the level of worry it provokes is.

For example, you decide to research causes of an upset stomach. You may find a list of 40 reasons for stomach upset, some quite serious. This can cause you anxiety symptoms such as racing pulse, headache and chest pain. Now you have even more symptoms that convince you that something is wrong with you.

Treatment

If you find it hard to stop researching diseases and self-diagnosing, talk to your doctor about it. She may suggest an evaluation to help make the diagnosis. Treatments traditionally include talk therapy and/or taking medicine.

By Bethanne Kelly Patrick and Joel Yager, MD
Reviewed by Todd Kasdan, MD, Medical Director, Illinois Mental Health Collaborative, ValueOptions Inc.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical or health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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