Health Anxiety

We all worry about our health from time to time. However if you are constantly worried about your health or frequently have periods of anxiety that are focused on your health then you may have health anxiety. Health anxiety can become a problem if the worry about health is excessive or interferes with someone’s ability to function in their daily life.

Signs and symptoms of health anxiety

Some anxiety about health is normal and can be helpful as it prompts us to seek medical attention when needed or engage in healthy behaviours such as exercise, eating well or taking medication. However health anxiety can become a problem if it is out of proportion and persistent. People with health anxiety might do some of the following:

  • Spend a lot of time worrying about their health
  • Check their body for signs and symptoms of an illness
  • Seek frequent consultations and reassurance from GP’s, medical professionals, family or friends
  • Avoid health related information, medical appointments or other people who are unwell
  • Feel very distressed and preoccupied with thoughts that they might already have, or will soon develop, an illness
  • Spend significant amounts of time looking up information about illness or disease on the internet

If you are experiencing excessive and persistent worry about your health, are very vigilant or alert for signs of illness, check you body frequently for signs of illness, seek frequent reassurance about your health or avoid talking or thinking about your health because it is too distressing, then health anxiety might be a problem for you.

Talk to us about therapy for Health Anxiety if you are registered with a GP in City and Hackney

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What causes health anxiety?

There is no single cause for health anxiety and it can affect anyone at any time. Research indicates that the following factors might be important in developing health anxiety:

  • Witnessing family members or loved ones experience a serious illness, especially during childhood or adolescence.
  • Having a parent who was very worried about their health or the health of their children
  • Reading distressing stories or information about health and illness through the internet or other media
  • Having experienced (now or in the past) a serious illness or medical condition

How to get help for health anxiety

The best treatment for health anxiety is a talking therapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT can help you put your worries about your health in perspective so that you feel less anxious and the anxiety doesn’t interfere with your daily life.

Need Urgent Help?

If you need urgent help and are worried that you can’t keep yourself safe, City and Hackney has a 24-hour Crisis helpline on 0800 073 0006 or you can get help at your local Accident and Emergency department.