Cancer phobia may cause actual symptoms
In common parlance, a hypochondriac is a person who has an exaggerated fear of serious illnesses and illness. According to the definition, people with hypochondria constantly monitor their state of health, are very worried about their health, are obsessively afraid of illnesses or think they are already seriously ill, for example with cancer. Experts also refer to hypochondria as a hypochondriac disorder.
However, doctors cannot prove physical illness or diagnose physical illness in a hypochondriac. Even if the fears are objectively unfounded - a hypochondriac suffers psychologically enormously from his fear of illness and the quality of life is often restricted. The hypochondria is one mental illness, that you need help with.
The meaning of the term hypochondria is often negatively assigned in society: A hypochondriac is considered to be “over-the-top”, complacent and conceited sick person. This is problematic given that hypochondria is a mental disorder.
Hypochondria is a somatoform disorder
Because of its symptoms, hypochondria often resembles an anxiety, panic, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. In fact, doctors classify hypochondria in the group "somatoform disorders " a. Affected people permanently monitor their state of health, have increased vigilance towards their body and perceive symptoms such as an accelerated heartbeat as extremely threatening. They conjure up catastrophes and fear that they will soon have a heart attack.
People who have a hypochondriac disorder often have an altered, aggravated body perception: They actually experience physical symptoms, so they are not simulators. Therefore, they can always be examined medically. They do this even when the tests do not reveal any disease and the doctors assure them that they cannot find an organic cause for the symptoms.
Forms of hypochondria: From health awareness to pathological delusions
Hypochondria can take several forms:
- Nosophobia: Those affected are generally afraid of getting sick. They are particularly health-conscious and avoid doctor's offices and sick people for fear of contagious diseases.
- Dysmorphophobia: Patients believe they are malformed, disfigured, or ugly.
- Bromosis: Affected people are convinced that they smell unpleasant.
- Parasitosis: Hypochondriacs with this shape have the idea of being infested with parasites - such as worms or spiders.
The extent of hypochondria can also vary greatly. It ranges from a pronounced health awareness and a very healthy lifestyle to a firm conviction that you are seriously ill (“hypochondriac madness”). The probabilityto suffer from pronounced hypochondria, however, it is minor. Experts assume around one percent of the general population. Mostly people between the ages of 30 and 50 are affected.
However, the transition between very health-conscious people and hypochondriacs is fluid. Medical professionals can not always clearly delimitedwho is merely concerned about their health and who actually has hypochondria. The decisive criterion here is Patient suffering.
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