We all know that health needs to be monitored – and it’s not only about the popularity of healthy lifestyle, but also in common sense: a problem detected in time is easier to treat. But sometimes, trying to protect ourselves, we get carried away and no longer see the difference between a real disease and its projection that appears in the head.
Hypochondria, or anxiety about a possible illness, in one form or another, according to some reports , occurs in 9% of the population and is considered a mental disorder. Our checklist will help you figure out in which cases overly careful health care is harmful and rather indicates concern.
Any discomfort seems to be a sign of a serious illness.
In a situation with hypochondria, even a small deviation from the norm is perceived as a harbinger of the apocalypse. A cough that continues after a common cold draws on pneumonia, frequent headaches seem to be the first symptoms of a brain tumor, and a distinct heartbeat is an indispensable sign of a heart attack .
If at the same time you forget that overwork, stress, allergies and many other conditions can manifest themselves in a similar way, it’s time to think about how objective your idea of your own health is.
You are trying to diagnose yourself using the Internet
Googling potential illnesses on a regular basis can be a sign of onset hypochondria. It is, of course, normal to be interested in information about health and body – it is worth sounding the alarm when the disorder begins to progress.
A loss of control can be indicated, for example, by a situation when, without being a doctor, you visit medical portals and certain Wikipedia pages more often than accounts in social networks, and adjust your own feelings to the list of symptoms for a specific diagnosis. At the beginning of the 2000s, the search for symptoms of the disease on the Internet received a separate name – cyberchondria. According to a Google report , in 2016, about 1% of all user searches were associated with signs of various diseases.
You see your doctor more often
than you need to
If you constantly think that doctors are inattentive, do not order the right examinations, ask the wrong questions, or ignore a causal relationship that is obvious to you, it seems that you have hypochondria.
Sometimes the desire to listen to a second opinion is quite reasonable, but often behind the search for more and more new specialists lies the inability to believe that your body is really healthy. In addition, hypochondria can go hand in hand with the desire to find the “magic pill” when the patient is convinced that the doctors recommending lifestyle and nutritional changes are the wrong doctors.
You avoid doctors in every possible way
And the endless enumeration of specialists, and the complete refusal to visit them are manifestations of mistrust in doctors. It may seem to a person with hypochondria that he understands his condition much better – after all, all the symptoms coincide with those described on the Internet, and the treatment is also described there.
Recall that self-diagnosis and self-medication can lead to disastrous consequences, and the ability to search for information on the Web cannot be compared with the fundamental knowledge of a doctor. The main thing that is taught in a medical school is clinical thinking and a comprehensive understanding of the processes occurring in the human body.
You are very concerned about hygiene issues
It’s one thing to wash your hands before eating and after going to the toilet, it’s another thing to constantly think about the fact that the handrails in the transport are not sterile, and the hand dryer spreads bacteria. The constant treatment of hands with antiseptics is one of the manifestations of hypochondria. It, like a general urge to be sterile, is often associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder , but new research shows that these conditions are not identical.
Of course, regular hygiene procedures are important, but beyond a certain limit, they do not bring additional benefits and can be harmful – for example, endless hand disinfection contributes to dry skin and the appearance of cracks on it.
You are afraid of contact
with people with colds
It is perfectly normal to avoid contact with children and adults during an acute infection – for example, reschedule visiting friends if their child has chickenpox. But worrying about a colleague’s residual runny nose who came out of sick leave is overkill.
When the acute phase with high fever is over, you most likely won’t catch a cold – but even if it does, it’s not the end of the world. Mild colds work like vaccinations, boosting the body’s immune defenses – which is why children often get sick when they start kindergarten, and stop doing it after the first year.
You have a huge first aid kit
For people with hypochondria, travel fees cause panic, because you need to prepare a first-aid kit without forgetting anything. The long lists include everything from rare antibiotics to wound dressings.
In reality, a basic travel medicine box should include an anti-inflammatory, an antiseptic, something for allergies and diarrhea, and your usual medicines like birth control pills. Better don’t spare the money for good insurance – and don’t worry about anything.
Would you like to have your appendix removed for prevention
Don’t think of your appendix or wisdom teeth as a ticking time bomb. Appendicitis occurs in only one person in ten thousand a year, and this process of the cecum itself is not at all useless, it plays an important role in the functioning of the body’s immune system.
As for the wisdom teeth – in many people they calmly perform their function and they never have to be treated; you just have to pay attention to them when cleaning, choosing the most convenient toothbrush for this . Love your body and do not suspect parts of it are scheming against you.
Are you confident that a hereditary disease is about to develop
If all or many blood relatives suffered from similar diseases, you may indeed have a hereditary predisposition. The good news is that most of these conditions are not only genetically determined and are completely preventable.
Although heart failure or type 2 diabetes has a genetic component, it is primarily a lifestyle disease – which means prevention is based on a healthy diet and physical activity. If we are talking about risks like breast cancer , then you need to discuss this issue with an oncologist – it is quite possible that with a genetic analysis you will not be found to have an increased risk.
You think you are dying
Hypochondria is characterized by almost continuous thoughts that everything is very bad and will be even worse – there may be an obsessive belief in the presence of undiagnosed cancer, HIV infection or Ebola.
Often, hypochondriacs visit a doctor with a number of symptoms (sleep disturbances, breathing disorders, muscle pain, etc.), which are mistaken for the development of a serious illness. But in most cases, the opposite principle applies: it is the constant anxiety that provokes malfunctions in the body, and not what you read about on the Web.