What It Means to Have Hypochondria

Marie Miguel
woman looking at her photo worried and sad
woman looking at her photo worried and sad

We all worry about our health, however it’s important to distinguish between concern and persistent obsession. A person with hypochondria worries that there is something “wrong” with them on a regular basis. Their obsessions can deal with neuroses. What does it mean to be neurotic? A person who worries excessively about things falls into the category of neuroticism. One aspect of people’s lives that they tend to obsess about the most is their health. It’s natural to be concerned with being healthy, but when it gets out of control, that’s when it’s challenging to navigate. An individual who worries a lot about their health and whether they have a deadly disease is called a hypochondriac.

Hypochondriacs Are Neurotic

Hypochondriacs are individuals who can’t stop thinking about their health. They ruminate on whether or not there’s something wrong with their bodies. There’s no rational reason or evidence that they’re on their way out of this world; however, they believe there’s something seriously wrong with them and they need to seek medical attention. In romantic relationships, a neurotic person may frustrate their partner to the point where the two might benefit from seeking counseling; especially if they’re going to be together for a long time. As a friend or loved one of someone with hypochondria, you may become frustrated with this behavior. It’s important to understand that a neurotic person will worry no matter what you say or do.

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Support Them

I know it can be hard to think like this, but support your friend who is a hypochondriac. However, you don’t want to encourage their behavior. Try this: tell them that you understand it must be a painful feeling to believe that they are dying. You can question their belief, and ask them if there’s any evidence to this effect.

I have a friend who believed there was something seriously wrong with her. She had tingling and numbness in her body and insisted that she had a disease. After many medical tests, the doctors concluded that she was experiencing anxiety. I  encouraged her that it was good that she checked out her symptoms, but now that multiple medical professionals told her that she did not have a chronic illness, she didn’t have to worry that something was wrong with her. Whether or not I got through to her, I don’t know. But I acknowledge that I did my best to reassure her that she was healthy. Anxiety is a real medical condition; however, it can’t kill you.

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She was neurotic

My friend not only had hypochondria but also neuroticism. She couldn’t stop herself from worrying. Because she was neurotic, her behaviors were normal. However, she did probably need to see a mental health professional. I couldn’t convince her that she wasn’t dying, but a therapist could work with her on her neurotic behavior. Her obsessive worrying about her health was impacting her to the point where she was preoccupied with it all day long. When you are worrying incessantly over something to the point where it’s affecting your life, it’s important to seek help.

Chronic and invisible illnesses are real

There is a difference between having a chronic illness and being overly concerned about ailments that aren’t real. For example, people who have chronic pain are dealing with extremely real conditions. A person with fibromyalgia may appear as if there’s nothing wrong with them physically. Meanwhile, they’re coping with excruciating pain in their body. Many different invisible illnesses affect people. It’s important to remember that when a patient goes to the doctor, all of their concerns are valid. If someone is experiencing anxiety about their health, that is a legitimate concern, and it should be taken seriously. Don’t judge a person by how they look, but rather listen to their symptoms. Medical professionals need to take their clients’ concerns seriously.

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Getting help for neurotic behavior

If you’re always in a state of worry, and you can’t stop yourself from fixating on whatever your obsession is about, see a therapist or counselor. An online therapist can help you work through your neuroticism and support you to develop healthy coping mechanisms. If you are neurotic, you’re not alone. Many people find themselves in a feedback loop of worrying. But you don’t have to suffer anymore needlessly. A therapist can assist you and help you find the source of your worry, which is usually underneath the surface, and you’ll start to heal.

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