How to overcome worrying about your health | Psyche Guides - Deepstash
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Illness anxiety disorder is a chronic and disabling mental disorder that can interfere with school, work, sleep, and relationships, and can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.

  • People who are comfortable with uncertainty about health tend to think: 'I must be tired or stressed, so I will forget about this symptom.'
  • But when you have an intolerance of uncertainty, your mind tries to take a better-safe-than-sorry approach to the infinite possibilities of illness and health: imagine the worst-case scenario.


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Understand what maintains your illness anxiety

Reassurance-seeking and avoidance give you a momentary escape from the worry and anxiety, but in the long run, they make it worse by convincing you that you cannot tolerate the uncertainty of not knowing your future health - yet this is an uncertainty with which we must all ultimately live.

  • Identify the triggers that sustain your health anxiety - identify the triggers for your worries about illness and all the ways you try to get rid of them
  • Practice illness-related exposure therapy - exposure therapy involves gradually reducing (and ultimately ending) your worries and anxieties.


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Overcoming worrying about your health

  • The problem is not actually your health - it's your discomfort with not knowing what the future holds. It's possible to live well with an illness. Most people with serious or terminal illnesses enjoy life and live well, despite the knowledge of a future that contains illness.
  • Understand what maintains your illness anxiety. Identify and practice the triggers that sustain your health anxiety and practice exposure therapy
  • Decrease your reassurance-seeking. Gradually stop doing so much illness-related research and other checks.
  • Reduce your avoidance of anxiety-provoking triggers.


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How to deal with illness anxiety disorder

The easiest way to do the right thing is to follow the advice of your doctor or the general advice given to the public for health screenings that fit your age and risk status.

Let sound medical practice dictate when you see the doctor and get lab tests, as opposed to letting your anxiety make the decision.


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