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Illness Anxiety Disorder Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What Is Illness Anxiety Disorder?

Illness anxiety disorder, also known as hypochondria, refers to worry about having a serious illness.

This debilitating condition is the result of an inaccurate perception of the condition of body or mind despite the absence of an actual medical condition

Those suffering from illness anxiety disorder become unduly alarmed about any physical or psychological symptoms they detect, no matter how minor the symptom may be, and are convinced that they have, or are about to be diagnosed with, a serious illness.

Causes Of Illness Anxiety Disorder:

Although the exact cause is unknown, the following factors contribute to the development of illness anxiety disorder:

This is marked by poor understanding of diseases and body sensations. This could lead to the assumption that all body sensations are serious.

Those having parents with a similar disorder are more likely to develop it themselves.

  • Past experience.

Common risk factors include:

  • A time of major life stress
  • Threat of a serious illness that turns out not to be serious
  • History of abuse as a child
  • A serious childhood illness or a parent with a serious illness
  • A personality that includes being a worrier
  • Excessive health-related Internet use

Symptoms Of Illness Anxiety Disorder:

Symptoms of illness anxiety disorder may include:

  • Being preoccupied with having or getting a serious disease or health condition
  • Worrying that minor symptoms or body sensations mean you have a serious illness
  • Being easily alarmed about your health status
  • Finding little or no reassurance from negative test results or a doctor’s reassurance that you’re healthy
  • Worrying excessively about a specific medical condition or your risk of developing a medical condition because it runs in your family
  • Having so much distress about possible illnesses that it’s hard for you to function
  • Repeatedly checking your body for signs of illness
  • Frequently making medical appointments for reassurance — or, avoiding medical care for fear of being diagnosed with a serious illness
  • Avoiding people, places or activities for fear of health risks
  • Constantly talking about your health and possible illnesses
  • Frequently searching the Internet for causes of symptoms or possible illnesses

Diagnosis Of Illness Anxiety Disorder:

One is diagnosed with illness anxiety disorder if they fulfill the following criteria:

  • Preoccupation with fears of having, or the idea that one has, a serious disease based on the person’s misinterpretation of bodily symptoms.
  • The preoccupation persists despite appropriate medical evaluation and reassurance.
  • The belief in Criterion A is not of delusional intensity (as inDelusional Disorder, Somatic Type) and is not restricted to a circumscribed concern about appearance (as in Body Dysmorphic Disorder).
  • The preoccupation causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  • The duration of the disturbance is at least 6 months
  • The preoccupation is not better accounted for byGeneralized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, a Major Depressive Episode, Separation Anxiety, or another Somatoform Disorder.

Treatment Of Illness Anxiety Disorder:

Treatment options available for illness anxiety disorder include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral therapy
  • Behavioral stress management
  • Exposure therapy
  • Medications
  • Antidepressants
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

By : Natural Health News

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