Illness anxiety disorder (IAD) is a mental health condition that causes an excessive and irrational fear of becoming ill or having a serious illness. People with IAD often worry about their health to the point where it interferes with their everyday life. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about illness anxiety disorder!
- 1 What Is Illness Anxiety Disorder?
- 2 What Are The Symptoms Of Illness Anxiety Disorder
- 3 What Are The Causes And Risk Factors?
- 4 How To Manage Illness Anxiety Disorder?
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 A Word From Mantra Care
What Is Illness Anxiety Disorder?
Illness anxiety disorder is defined as a chronic condition characterized by excessive worry about one’s health. People with this disorder may fixate on minor physical symptoms, or they may believe that they have a serious medical condition. Despite repeated reassurance from doctors.
Illness anxiety disorder is also known as hypochondria, health anxiety, and medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). More often, this condition is seen in women than men. It usually begins in early adulthood, but it can also develop during childhood or later in life.
Moreover, it is believed that illness anxiety disorder is a form of anxiety, and it shares many features with other anxiety disorders. For instance, people with illness anxiety disorder often have a history of other anxiety disorders. Such as generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder.
What Are The Symptoms Of Illness Anxiety Disorder
There are a number of symptoms associated with illness anxiety disorder, and they can range in severity. Some people may only experience a few symptoms, while others may experience many. The most common symptoms include:
- Constant worry about your health
- A strong belief that you are sick, even if there is no evidence to support it
- Avoidance of activities or places for fear of becoming sick
- Frequent doctor’s visits and excessive testing
- Preoccupation with health information
- Intolerance of uncertainty about your health
- Difficulty concentrating on anything else other than your health
- Muscle tension and fatigue
- Sleep problems
- Changes in appetite
These common symptoms can cause a significant amount of distress and can interfere with your ability to function in your daily life. Even so, researchers have suggested that many people with illness anxiety disorder do not seek treatment. Because they are afraid of being seen as hypochondriacs.
In fact, the stigma surrounding hypochondria can be so strong that people with an illness anxiety disorder may not even tell their friends or family about their symptoms for fear of being ridiculed. But, it is essential for you to understand that illness anxiety disorder is a real and serious condition. And, it requires treatment.
Thus, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, please reach out to a mental health professional for help.
What Are The Causes And Risk Factors?
When it comes to the causes of illness anxiety disorder, there is no one definitive answer. But some of the causes can be:
- Family history of anxiety disorders
- If you’ve experienced any sort of traumatic event
- If you’re constantly exposed to stress or illness
- Certain personality traits like perfectionism or a need for control
- Side effects from certain medications
- Use of illicit drugs or alcohol abuse
These causes are not exhaustive, and it’s possible to have illness anxiety disorder without any of these risk factors.
Some of the risk factors that can bring on illness anxiety disorder include:
- A family member or close friend who has a chronic or serious medical condition
- A personal experience with a medical issue, such as a cancer diagnosis
- Exposure to media coverage of illness and disease outbreaks
- Witnessing someone else’s severe illness or death.
Illness anxiety disorder can also be brought on by changes in life circumstances or triggers, such as:
- The death of a loved one
- Divorce or relationship problems
- Loss of a job
- Moving to a new home
So, it is important to be aware of the triggers that can lead to illness and anxiety disorder. If you are experiencing symptoms of this disorder, please reach out to a mental health professional for help.
How To Manage Illness Anxiety Disorder?
It is really important to manage your illness anxiety disorder, and there are a few key things you can do to help. These tips include:
Talk to your primary doctor
It is important to have an open and honest relationship with your primary care physician. Tell them about your concerns and ask questions. More often, your doctor can provide reassurance and help to allay your fears. It is also believed that seeking medical attention for your anxiety can help to lessen the severity of symptoms.
Get a second opinion
If you are really struggling to manage your anxiety, it may be helpful to get a second opinion from another doctor. This can help to rule out any other possible causes of your symptoms and give you some peace of mind. In fact, this is essential if you think you may have an undiagnosed medical condition. Because illness anxiety disorder can cause you to believe you are seriously ill, getting a second opinion can be very reassuring.
There are a lot of myths out there about illness anxiety disorder. It is important to educate yourself so that you can separate fact from fiction. In fact, this can be a really empowering experience. The more you know about your condition, the better equipped you will be to manage it. There have been studies that suggest that education can actually help to reduce the severity of symptoms.
It is important to take care of your physical health if you want to manage your illness anxiety disorder. Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety, so make sure you are getting plenty of exercises. It is also important to eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep. Even, this little change can make a big difference. Even, just being active with your friends or family can be helpful.
Meditation is a great way to calm your mind and body. There are many different ways to meditate, so find one that works best for you. Once you find a method that works, stick with it and practice regularly. Some of the examples are:
- Listening to calming music
- Focus on your breath
- Body scan meditation
- Visualization exercises
You should understand that you are not alone in this. Millions of people suffer from an illness anxiety disorder, so you are not alone.
Get enough sleep
Sometimes, it is hard to get enough sleep when you are dealing with anxiety. However, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough rest. A lack of sleep can actually make your anxiety worse, so do your best to get a good night’s sleep. There are several things that you can do to help you get to sleep, such as reading or taking a warm bath.
Talk to someone who understands
It can be really helpful to talk to someone who understands what you are going through. This could be a friend, family member, therapist, or support group. Talking about your anxiety can help you to feel better and may even help to reduce your symptoms. It is also a good way to get support and advice from others who are going through the same thing.
Be calm and positive
When you are dealing with anxiety, it is important to stay calm and positive. This may be difficult at times, but it is important to remember that things will get better. Try to focus on the good things in your life and try not to dwell on your anxiety. Also, try to avoid any stressful situations if possible. Because illness anxiety disorder can cause you to believe you are seriously ill, getting a second opinion can be very reassuring.
Seek professional help
If your anxiety is really severe, it may be helpful to seek professional help. This could be in the form of therapy or medication. If you think that your anxiety is starting to affect your life, it is important to seek help. Remember, you don’t have to deal with this alone. There are many people who can help you to manage your anxiety and live a normal life.
Types of professional help:
- Support groups
These therapies along with medication are believed to be the most effective treatments for illness and anxiety disorder. If you are struggling to find the right treatment option, then you can contact Mantra Care for more information and guidance.
Mantra Care has a team of experienced mental health professionals who can provide you with the support and treatment you need to manage your anxiety. You can book your free consultation today.
To conclude, illness anxiety disorder is a very real and serious mental illness. If you think you may be suffering from it, please reach out to a mental health professional for help. There is no shame in seeking help and treatment! IAD is highly treatable with the right kind of support.
Moreover, if you know someone who is struggling with IAD, be there for them. Show them support and understanding. Let them know that they are not alone in this battle. In this way, we can help to break the stigma around mental illness and create a more supportive world for everyone.
A Word From Mantra Care
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.
At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.