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.
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
When should I get help for health anxiety?
Which treatments are most effective for health anxiety?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Schema Therapy and mindfulness-based interventions are all effective treatments for health anxiety.