Health Anxiety

There are many ways anxiety, stress, trauma may manifest in our bodies. One common manifestation of this is through health anxiety, also called Illness Anxiety Disorder, where people worry about getting an illness.  People with illness anxiety disorder have often been through their own health scare or seen someone they love suffer from an illness or die.  This trauma becomes internalized, then may come out later in life during times of stress or worry.  People with health anxiety often go to the worst-case scenario, as most people with anxiety also do. They catastrophize the things that could occur should they get a disease. Many highly sensitive people may misinterpret their body sensitivities in times of stress, and it manifests into illness anxiety. With the media inundating us with news stories using pressured dramatic speech, alarming headlines, and sensationalized violence and illness, it can easily overwhelm us.

Anxiety is genuine and can feel a lump in the throat, sighing, heart racing, numbness, and tingling. It can exacerbate physical symptoms of headaches, migraines, and worsen tremors and other neurological conditions. It can manifest in the following syndromes in psychiatry.

Illness Anxiety Disorder

Somatic Symptom Disorder

Conversion or Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder

There are mind-body modalities for lessening health and illness anxiety.  Cognitive behavioral therapy, yoga, somatic experiencing, breathwork, exercise, and many others are available.  Some people choose medications to help with these symptoms.

Allison Sikorsky

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