Health Anxiety

What is health anxiety?

Health anxiety is a type of anxiety that can cause you to worry excessively about your health or to fear that you have a serious physical illness – often when there is no reason to think this. This excessive worrying can cause a great deal of distress and affect your everyday life.


Some people with health anxiety have a medical condition which they worry about excessively while others have medically unexplained symptoms. Others may just be persistently worried about their future health.

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Health anxiety symptoms

Some of the symptoms of health anxiety are:


  • Unexplained physical symptoms and frequent visits to your GP
  • Intense fear of getting sick
  • Residual fears around the reoccurrence of a disease or illness
  • Fear about the catastrophic outcome of contracting a particular illness
  • Fear of heightened vulnerability or susceptibility to illness
  • Behaviours like: consulting multiple doctors, undergoing diagnostic procedures, endless symptom-searching, frequent hand-washing – and other safety behaviours

Frequently asked questions

You should seek help for health anxiety if you find yourself getting preoccupied about your health when there are no obvious reasons for concern. Likewise, we would also recommend that you seek support if you find yourself spending a lot of time symptom searching or carrying out medical tests to get reassurance.
Health anxiety can happen for a number of different reasons. It can sometimes be a consequence of experiencing high levels of anxiety in other areas of your life. It’s also possible that you may have been modelled this way of relating to the world by a parent who was anxious about their own health. Or you may have grown up over protected which meant that you didn’t develop a sense of your own resilience. It can also be a result of the reverse experience – not growing up with an adequate feeling of safety in your environment.

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Dr Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced consultant psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector.

Having obtained a first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the American College of Greece, she completed her doctoral training at the University of Surrey. Dr Touroni is highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder and relationship difficulties. She works with both individuals and couples and can offer therapy in English and Greek.

Dr Touroni has held a variety of clinical and managerial positions including as Head of Service in the NHS. Further she has held academic positions for the University of Surrey and the Institute of Mental Health lecturing on specialist postgraduate Masters and Doctorate programmes.

She is trained in several specialist therapeutic approaches such as schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based approaches and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). As well as holding a variety of NHS positions, Dr. Touroni is the co-founder of a private practice in Central London that has been a provider of psychological therapy for all common emotional difficulties including personality disorder since 2002. She is the founder and one of two directors of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.