Slightly Confused...on Health Anxiety

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ZLSJ
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 263
   Posted 3/22/2009 10:12 AM (GMT -7)   
I've been reading lots about people's trials and tribulations and just have a few questions on the Health Anxiety end of things.
 
I guess from my end of things I can't say I have panic attacks related to this, it is more the 24/7 constant feeling that something isn't right and that I must have something "terminal" illness-wise happening to me. I spend way too much time googling, and visiting sites like this (though sites like this are more therapeutic than anything) 
I've had tons of bloodwork(Amylase, Lipase, Bilirubin, CA19, PSA, CEA, Celiac Screen, other specific kidney ones, ...I'm sure you get the drift), it all comes back fine. EKGs, Chest x-rays, thoracic spine x-rays...all fine. Yet I still feel that every pain/twitch/discomfort means something bad.
 
I do have Ulcerative Proctitis that gives me grief, and yet I don't get as caught up in that as I do for the above.
 
I always find it hard to put down the computer when I continue to have physical symptoms. I have back discomfort on the left-mid side of my back that never disappears and the docs keep telling me it's nothing. I've had a cough (phlegm producing) for about 8 weeks now, and now I've got head discomfort/pressure in the back of my head for about 10 days. I just want this all to stop!! 
 
So on to my questions:
 
Is this the Health Anxiety that others speak of? The 24/7 worrying? Or do people usually have "attacks" associated with their HA? 
 
What are people taking/doing to relieve these HA symptoms? Meds, therapy, combination of the two?  I'm getting tio the point where I'm truly desperate as I know I am truly affecting my life with my wife and 3 beautiful boys.
 
I had my first visit with psychiatrist yesterday...not much done there just an intro session I guess.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 3/22/2009 10:54 AM (GMT -7)   

ZLSJ

If I were to go by your concerns I would feel that you have health Anxiety.

Health anxiety/health phobia refers to an excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness. Often, health anxiety persists even after a physician has evaluated a person and reassured him/her that his/her concerns about symptoms do not have an underlying medical basis or, if there is a medical illness, the concerns are far in excess of what is appropriate for the level of disease. Many people suffering from this disorder focus on a particular symptom as the catalyst of their worrying, such as gastro-intestinal problems, palpitations, or muscle fatigue.

CBT/Cognitive-behavioral therapy is based on the idea that our thoughtscause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel / act better even if the situation does not change. This type of therapy is often very successful for people with Health Anxiety.
 
I am glad to hear you have started seeing a therapist.
 
Remember I am not a professional.
 
Take care
Kitt
 

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
&  Moderator GERD  Forums

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Aries8
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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 3/22/2009 1:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Kitt answered your post beautifully. It sounds like you are way too preoccupied with your physical feelings. We all do it. I mentioned a few pains to a doctor one time and he said to stop watching my body. That was all I needed at the time to knock it off. Your docs have told you everything is fine. The tests have said everything is fine.

I would continue with the therapy and find something fun to do that will keep your mind off your body. Eventually, your aches and pains will go away. If you haven't already, begin a journal. It really helps!
Anxiety Disorder/Mitral Valve Prolapse
 
Prozac, Toprol 100 mg and occasionally Ativan


ZLSJ
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 263
   Posted 3/23/2009 9:17 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for the positive words.

I'm just really struggling these days and all the while trying to do my best around my family to keep things together. My wife mentioned that I seem a lot more positive the last while, yet I know I'm just doing a better job of shielding them from what I'm truly feeling.

I just wish there was a magic pill to allow me to flip the switch and get off of this horrible cycle of HA that I am battling. I know that I am far from alone in this battle and it is comforting to know that there are others who know what I'm going through and can offer kind words.

Thank you all.


Celey
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1284
   Posted 3/23/2009 12:32 PM (GMT -7)   
I think, in regards to health anxiety, it varies from person to person. Some people may have constant worrying... while others will have "attacks of constant worrying"... I only seem to have an attack when my Crohn's is acting up (wherein, I don't just worry about my Crohn's, I worry about everything else, too and can't seem to stop)... I don't really have much in the way of advice for you... but Kitt has offered a good suggestion... and you've taken a good step by seeing a therapist...
I think I am being picked on by life, sometimes. But's that okay. Life and I are good buddies... I know life doesn't mean no harm. It just is the way it is. I can accept that.


bigcc_1976
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 94
   Posted 3/23/2009 8:35 PM (GMT -7)   

I have both health anxiety and anticipatory anxiety.  My trigger is a quick pain in my chest..  My heart has all been tested and it is fine.  The pain I feel is gastro-intestinal and reflux.  Each time I get the pain I "THINK" well maybe this time it is the heart attack and boom I am in an high anxiety and pre panic.  Anxiety is all about what we think, at least in my opinion.  As far as your other symptoms.  I also beleive that excessive worry i.e. anxiety causes us to stress and get sick or have other symptoms.  

You will be fine.  We are are here with you.

CC

 


dixibella
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 161
   Posted 3/24/2009 4:21 AM (GMT -7)   
I worry about the pains in my body constantly. Every little twinge and I think I've got some terrible illness and like you I just have a feeling all the time that something is wrong. My tests all come back normal but I just have a nagging feeling, its like I don't trust my doctor or something which is kind of silly but that is my anxiety.
It would be great if there was a switch you could flip just to shut it all off, I'm with you on that one! I've read several places that people with anxiety are hyper aware of their bodies and every sensation seems amplified. I would have to say from my experience that is so true, and unfortunately it becomes a trigger for more anxiety. Its a vicious cycle. I am looking into finding a therapist who deals with anxiety in hopes of learning better ways to live with my anxiety. I find that when I am stressed and there is a lot going on it gets worse.
I hope you take comfort in this board and that you are not alone. This is a great place to chat with other people who have the same sort of feelings and worries.

mom2three
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 3/24/2009 4:35 AM (GMT -7)   
I suffer from terrible health anxiety. Every little symptom makes me think that I have an awful disease or will drop dead! I have always had it...not necessarily when I have an attack - it's just a general feeling, like you described. And, yes, at times it is constant.

I have a spouse and three children as well - it can be very distracting. I tend to dive into work, kids, hubby - my OCD part of me - to compensate.

I have really benefitted from CBT - I personally see a psych/therapist to help me, but, if that isn't possible, many people on this board have recommended moodgym.com. I try to stay positive and remember that I am healthy. I stay VERY busy. I also listen to CD's like "body awareness relaxation" or "progressive muscle relaxation" which help - my doc gave me a CD, but I'm sure you can download them. They force you to be aware of your body and, in turn, learn to trust that your body is taking care of you.

You are not alone!
Panic Attacks (since age 10) & General Anxiety with a little OCD thrown in there
Biggest Challenge - Panic; Biggest Joy - my 3 cute kiddos (ages 1, 2 & 5)
 


mom2three
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 3/24/2009 4:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Oh, I forgot to mention! I have several of the "real" physical problems you describe - right shoulder pain shooting into my lower back, terrible sinus issues...don't let health anxiety prevent you from taking care of what is curable. It's hard to differentiate sometimes, but part of my health anxiety is determining what is real and manageable. For me, I see a chiropractor for my shoulder/back pain and an allergist for my sinus issues. So I do treat the "real" ailments, which helps the overall health anxiety immensely!
Panic Attacks (since age 10) & General Anxiety with a little OCD thrown in there
Biggest Challenge - Panic; Biggest Joy - my 3 cute kiddos (ages 1, 2 & 5)
 


ZLSJ
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 263
   Posted 3/25/2009 5:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Had my first visit with the Psychiatrist on Saturday, second one is tonight. It's like everything else, I just want it fixed now, so hopefully tonight'ssession starts moving into the crux of the problem.
 
It's just that these darn HA thoughts NEVER leave my head, regardless of what I'm doing. I can't believe how much of a turn for the worse I have taken over the last 3 months. I'm constantly running from symptom to symptom, disease to disease, doctor to doctor.....aargh!! Sitting on the internet WAY TOO MUCH is likely a large part of my problem.
 
I have heard it so many times..."what did worry ever accomplish?", yet my worry is constant.
 
Sorry for all the whining, just having a bad spell these last few days

avistan_09
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 3/25/2009 8:34 PM (GMT -7)   
I cant believe what I just read.I have all of that.advice sounds good will try it.I was only medicated and told it would be alright, it wasnt. Im so anxious,its hard to medicate me.I also suffer from a mild case of agoraphobia my therapist told me to just leave the house,I left her office.This forum has given me more insight. thank you yeah
avistan_09


ZLSJ
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 263
   Posted 3/26/2009 6:56 AM (GMT -7)   

Sigh....first meeting went so well with Psychiatrist but it appears that we're a long way from getting to the crux of the problem.

He wants to rule out any other Psychological disorders before jumping into discussing my HA. Though he acknowledges I appear to have all the "classic" symptoms related to Hypochondriasis.  I do understand where he is coming from and he appears to be very methodical in his ways but I feel like I need to get moving on this sooner than later. I'll have to try my best to slow down my reckless thoughts on my own.

Thanks for all the encouragement and kind words


Celey
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1284
   Posted 3/26/2009 5:14 PM (GMT -7)   
ZLSJ, take a deep breath... It's okay that getting to the crux of the problem is going to take a while. You can't rush a psychological diagnosis. The mind is a very complex thing, and no diagnosis of any sort should be rushed. I think it's good that you're taking an initiative with getting your thoughts under control. :)
I think I am being picked on by life, sometimes. But's that okay. Life and I are good buddies... I know life doesn't mean no harm. It just is the way it is. I can accept that.

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