I always believe that I have something wrong with me, one little tingle or a sore from somewhere and my mind goes into overdrive, I always think the worst and yet I never talk to a doctor about it.
The prevalence of Hypochondria according to physiatrists in 2016 was at 2% of the population, that's approximately 1.4 million people, and it was on the increase even back then, showing that it is more common than you might think.
What is it?
Hypochondria is an anxiety disorder, causing you to worry excessively that you are or may become seriously ill, sometimes persisting unfounded fears that you may have a serious disease.
Others may worry about their health a little bit but a person with hypochondria goes to the extreme.
Does it go away?
We all know by now that googling our every symptom isn't the answer, so to lessen the anxiety, this may have to stop. Having a great relationship with your doctor will help too, if they can accept you for you, this will go a long way to making you feel better. But these two small changes will alleviate your worries only slightly, not making it actually go away.
Why it's not good
Some sufferers perceive that even the normal sensations are magnified. They spend too much time worrying about it that it takes over their life. If this is happening you will need to seek professional advice such as asking to see a Counsellor/therapist.
So why do I think I am a hypochondriac?
I do spend time thinking about illnesses and things that could be wrong with me, not only my ailments but I worry about my daughter too, I have no reason to but if she mentions an ache or a symptom to me I instinctively blurt out what I believe, could either be a life changing disease or maybe a broken bone. It sounds crazy I know this, I also know I'm not a medical professional by any means but I can't help thinking the worst sometimes.
I will give you some examples:
I have a continuous cough, due to smoking most probably, so I believe I have lung cancer, brought on by myself. I get that, it doesn't stop me overthinking though.
My daughter had diarrhea for a few days and I said she probably had Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it would need to be investigated urgently. She was fine after all, just me being a worrier again.
I had pulled a muscle in my side, the pain was unbearable, I told myself I had broken a rib and that I would need surgery and it meant months in hospital, even more months off work and I wouldn't be able to drive for nearly a year… strong painkillers prescribed by the doctor and lots of rest was all it needed.
When I get headaches I believe I have a brain tumour.
My daughter's ankle is quite weak. She has gone over on it several times, I said she had brittle bone disease and that maybe that's why she isn't growing as tall as her friends were, poor girl, it's just a slight weak point that needs care when she injures it.
It's not that having any medical condition would be bad, obviously I would deal with it if it happened, it's just that I over-worry.
Even if a doctor has told me he's done everything he can, I'll be fine, I actually come away thinking 'they were wrong' or asking myself 'surely I need to go for tests?'.
In general, I will admit most of my worries are pushed out of proportion, I have supportive people around me who all listen and bring me back to common sense most of all, and I am learning slowly not to scare my daughter too. Once I'm in that moment, it takes a while to get out of the over-thinking.
Hypochondria is recognised as a mental health issue now and if you would like to read more about it, I recommend the NHS website, there is plenty of helpful information available.
Were you aware of this health issue?
Are you happy contacting your GP about an issue you have?