Permanent and obsessive fear of catching viruses or serious diseases

18.09.2020

Constant and obsessive fear of contracting viruses or serious diseases such as cancer ... how can we control hypochondriacal thinking? There are basic strategies that we can all put into practice. We analyze them.

Is it possible to control hypochondriacal thoughts? How can I reduce this ongoing obsession with being aware of my body's sensations? A sore throat that can be a symptom of a more serious infection, that pain in the abdomen that could turn into something that forces me to undergo surgery ... There are many people who would like to calm their minds before these conditions.

The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) eliminated in 2013 the term hypochondria as a disorder, to replace it with two new ones: somatic symptom disorder and illness anxiety disorder . However, in our day-to-day lives, a hypochondriac is still defined as someone who is convinced that he has a serious undiagnosed illness, despite repeated medical assurances that this is not the case.

It is important to emphasize this fact: the impact on the quality of life of those who suffer from this anxiety disorder can be serious. Thus, and in the worst case, a part of these patients can drift into the depths of depression . They do so by being gripped by irrational fears that are difficult to handle, caused by self-diagnosis and anxiety about the unknown.

Fear of suffering cancer, fear of contracting a virus, panic of contracting that disease that a relative suffered in his day ... The personal universe in which one is trapped with this clinical condition can be very distressing . Having strategies to handle these types of thoughts can be of great help.

How to control hypochondriacal thoughts? Keys and strategies

When a person goes to therapy and exposes his phobias, he talks about his anguish about germs, his fear of leaving the house and contracting a virus or suffering from certain incurable diseases, several things happen.

The first is that they are fully aware that many of these ideas are irrational , but they still cannot control them. They cannot exercise logical control over their own fears.

Likewise, another dimension appears and it is shame , in addition to a feeling of contradiction and anger for not understanding why they do what they do and feel what they feel.

Anxiety due to illness or somatic symptom disorder generates great exhaustion at all levels. They experience discomfort with themselves, suffer problems in their social relationships because they feel neglected and often perceive that the health system does not treat them as they should. All of this arouses despair and with it the basic anxiety is fed even more.

Thus, when it comes to understanding how to control hypochondriacal thoughts, we must understand one aspect. Studies such as those carried out at the University of Valencia by Gemma García and Amparo Benlloch emphasize the importance of focusing on intrusive ideas and dysfunctional beliefs to treat this disorder.

So let's see some keys.

Understand what hypochondria is: what you suffer is anxiety

Hypochondria is not a disease, what is behind it is not just fear of contracting certain diseases. If we want to control hypochondriacal thoughts it is necessary to know what motivates this condition. Therefore, we must bear in mind that what is suffered, in reality, is an anxiety disorder .

Delimit, understand, rationalize and remember that your anguish is the result of your emotions and a mind that anticipates things that are not true.

They are not diseases: they are bodily sensations resulting from stress and anxiety

It is true that your body experiences endless sensations. It is true that you suffer from headaches, sore throats , pressure in the chest ... Do not be overwhelmed, anxiety and stress present a symptomatology as broad as it is limiting at times. Every time you feel a new sensation or discomfort, do not search the Internet for the possible cause.

Remind yourself what the real cause is: your thoughts, your anxiety. So do not fear what your body feels. .. Learn to accept them without obsessing over them and you will discover how suffering is reduced.

What is behind a thought is an emotion: understand it and calm it

"I have a hard time swallowing, I think my throat is swollen. Will I have an infection? Could it be cancer? To control hypochondriacal thoughts it is essential that you understand one aspect. Behind these beliefs about what happens there are a series of emotions that orchestrate in having one type of thoughts and not others.

Fear, insecurity, anguish, sadness, frustration ... Many of these emotional realities adhere to the mind, altering what we think. In this way, whenever a thought comes to us about what we may be suffering, it is best to stop. Afterwards, we will try to clarify what emotion lives inside us, we will name it and work on it.

Why do I feel this insecurity? What can I do to reduce its presence?

Accept the fear but don't feed it, don't make it bigger

Are you afraid of catching it? Are you afraid of developing cancer? Does having a chronic illness cause you anguish? These are all normal and understandable fears. We all have them. Fear is a normal emotion that has a specific purpose: if something scares you, act, but do it rationally: taking care of yourself, leading a healthy life.

Now, the last thing we have to do is feed it, make it an excessive case, let it be present in the head. Adding scary ideas will only heighten anxiety and fear of illness.

Reward yourself after controlling hypochondriacal thoughts

You wake up in the morning and feel dizzy . Am i sick What can this discomfort be due to? .. The next thing we do is do a search on the Internet. Well, to control hypochondriacal thoughts we must apply small daily strategies.

For example, if I feel dizzy I can sit back, wait for it to pass, and remind myself (rationally) that this is a symptom of my anxiety. I'm going to do something that will allow me to feel better: take a walk, take a bath, relax with a book... With this, I avoid feeding fear by going to the Internet. That in itself is a very good thing, a great step, and therefore I must reward myself for making good progress.

To conclude, it should be noted only that, sometimes, even putting these strategies into practice, we do not achieve results. At our disposal we have the help of professionals and cognitive restructuring techniques so adequate to achieve improvements. Let's keep it in mind.

Sigmund Freud confessed in his letters that he was afraid to travel. He called this type of anxiety "Reiseangst", although to this day, this particular phobia is known differently and defines a condition associated with generalized anxiety disorders.

Sleeping is a must. If we want to perform physically and mentally the next day, it is necessary that we have enjoyed a good sleep the night before. Only by having good sleep hygiene can we wake up rested and full of energy.

According to Harvard psychologist and author of The Sociopath Next Door , Martha Stout, one in 25 people is a sociopath . This can represent a real problem for today's society.