Is your friend unnecessarily and constantly worried about his health? Is he continuously changing doctors and doubts on their degree if they are unable to find anything? Does he fears getting ill every now and then? If yes, then there is a possibility that your friend is suffering from a psychological disorder or mental illness known as hypochondria or hypochondriasis. Its name is derived from the Greek "hypo" meaning below and "chondros" meaning cartilage. Hypochondria is a condition in which a person feels that he/she is suffering from a life-threatening disease which is undiagnosed and is very serious. Let's check out the treatment available for this mental illness.
The symptoms of hypochondria are totally related to the psychological aspect of the person. This condition can be divided according to the intensity, i.e., low and high intensity. In low intensity the person fears from the diseases but it is always at the back of his mind.
The high intensity hypochondriac symptoms can be detected prominently. Following are some of them.
- The people suffering from hypochondria are in a fear of getting ill or feel that they are suffering from some dangerous disease.
- They continuously keep on checking their pulse and blood pressure for symptoms of some deadly disease.
- Even a normal flu can make them think about throat cancer or a slight pain in the chest can make them think it is a heart attack.
- There is depression and strain in other relationships.
- Inability to trust the doctor as their denial of any disease is unacceptable by the person.
- After reading or hearing about some disease they start feeling that they are suffering from the same disease.
Treatment of hypochondria depends upon the seriousness of the disease. Following are some of the treatments which can be helpful.
- Therapies: This can be done by the psychotherapy. Some of the therapies like group therapy, cognitive therapy, behavior modification, etc., have proved to be effective. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to take away the thoughts and fear of the illness. It distracts the person's mind from the fear and helps him to relax. Behavior therapy also works in the same way as cognitive behavior therapy and behaves as a stress buster.
- Drugs: Drugs are not used in treating hypochondria but keeping other medical conditions in mind, doctors can prescribe some antidepressant or antianxiety drugs to keep conditions under control.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture has also given positive results in hypochondria. But it is advised that if you are going for such therapy, go to an experienced professional.
- Supportive Care: Try to discuss with the person about his thinking and what makes him think that he is suffering from a dangerous disease. Talking to the person can be very effective. Try to convince him about the reality and tell him about his condition of hypochondria. Try to help your loved ones to come out of such situation.
- Treating Anxiety and Depression: Anxiety and depression are the part of hypochondria. So, it is very important to get them treated in order to control their condition. There are many medicines like SSRI antidepressants which can cure depression. You should ask the person to have nutritional food in order to minimize such condition.
The treatment may take a lot of time to show its effects as the fear of illness is inside the person's mind and is not physical. So, give your loved ones time and proper support to get out of this illness.