A small instance, you got up in the morning, you felt a small headache, then you thought why I am having headache? Searched the causes of headache, then you ignored all the common causes of headache, the rarest diagnosis like brain tumor caught your attention. Then you searched for other symptoms, found that some of symptoms like occasional head reeling and a vomiting 3 months back matches the symptom. Now you became sure that you have brain tumor. You visited a neurologist, he told you and calmed you. But again you didn’t trust, visited another doctor, did one MRI. Then again searched in Google, it’s written, that many tumors don’t found in MRI. The cycle goes on and on. All your mental peace lost.
This is a classic story of a hypochondriac patient, who always think seriously for his/her small symptoms. There are some people in the world who always think, they have some big disease. Some times they think they are going to die soon. Even they don’t accept the fact that they are ok, even after consulting with multiple doctors.
Hypochondriasis or hypochondria is a condition in which a person is excessively and unduly worried about having a serious illness. An individual with hypochondriasis is known as a hypochondriac. Hypochondriacs become unduly alarmed about any physical or psychological symptoms they detect, no matter how minor the symptom may be, and are convinced that they have, or are about to be diagnosed with, a serious illness.
The 2013 DSM 5 replaced the diagnosis of hypochondriasis with the diagnoses of Somatic symptom disorder(75%) and illness anxiety disorder. In the COVID era due to wide coverage of media, many people are suffering from HYPOCHONDRIA. Wide use of Google in searching own symptoms is also a prominent cause of it.
Hypochondriasis manifests in many ways. Some people have numerous thoughts and physical sensations that push them to check with family, friends, and physicians. For example, a person who has a minor cough may think that they have tuberculosis. Or sounds produced by organs in the body, such as those made by the intestines, might be seen as a sign of a very serious illness to patients dealing with hypochondriasis. Some patients with mild headache may think they have brain tumors.
The cause of hypochondria is not known. But some of them are due to genetic inheritance. Others are due to environmental factors. Googling own symptoms, are a very common cause. Worrying about our health is okay, but it is not okay when it interferes with our day-to-day living, causing a lot of stress and affecting our overall mental health. Proper treatment, sharing your thoughts or fears, taking care of yourself, adopting good habits, eating well, managing stress effectively, relaxing meditation, pursuing a hobby can help. Sometimes psychiatry consultation might be necessary.
Are you a hypochondriac
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