Illness Anxiety Disorder (IAD), also called Hypochondria or health anxiety is a condition where the person believes that he has a serious or life-threatening illness or may acquire one in the future. The symptoms of the same are either minor or absolutely absent. The first sign of illness becomes apparent usually in adulthood but may occur at any age. The symptoms ebb and flow, but seldom disappear completely.
What causes IAD?
The cause is ambiguous, nevertheless, some factors that may augment the risk of enduring the disorder are:
• Childhood trauma (Abuse or Neglect)
• Acute Stress
• History of prolonged illness in the past (of self or loved one)
• Existing other mental health disorders
The following are few symptoms of IAD:
• Unusual health concerns
• Acute level of stress or anxiety
• Frequent scrutinizing for signs of illness
• Superfluous concern over developing an illness
• The concern is ceaseless, but the illness anticipated may change over time
• Fretful over doctor’s diagnosis or negative results
• Frequent medical appointments or excess aversion of the same dreading an illness
• Avoiding people and places due to health risks
• Frequent conversations about health and health issues
IAD is a mental health illness and it should be treated under a qualified mental health professional. Stick to a treatment to avoid relapse.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT helps in identifying the fears and beliefs and altering your behavior by teaching you skills to cope with stress to function better in various environments.
Certain lifestyle changes like avoiding stimulants such as coffee, alcohol, etc., and following a healthy diet make improvement conducive.
Recognize the triggers leading to stress and how they induce negative effects on your body. Follow relaxation techniques like meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercises to cope.
Antidepressants and other medications used to help manage mood and anxiety are helpful.
When to be alarmed?
A person with Illness Anxiety Disorder consults multiple medical professionals, in order to validate a diagnosis. This inhibits any treatment.
When the symptoms of the illness are at their peak, performing daily life activities may also become strenuous. If a person meets any aggravating event, this may further provoke their concern about an illness.
It is urged to opt for a treatment plan before letting the things get out of hands.
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