The need to take care of our well-being
For example, this is why we suffer fear or anxiety, unpleasant and even painful emotions that, however, we experience relatively frequently because they are useful for our survival.
However, sometimes this predisposition to detect danger signs where there is no reason to have them can bring us problems, and hypochondria is an example of this. Here we will see how to recognize hypochondria, as well as some tips to overcome it .
How to recognize a case of hypochondria problems?
Especially in recent times, in which the high amount of population and the dynamics of the globalized world have given rise to various pandemics and epidemics, the line that separates a reasonable level of concern for one's health, on the one hand, and an unwarranted obsession. with the possibility of having illnesses, on the other hand, it is somewhat blurred.
However, it is always possible to recognize extreme cases in which the perception of the state of one's own body becomes so biased towards pessimism that it is totally incompatible with reality . This is what happens with hypochondria, which not only does not help prevent serious health problems, but also becomes a problem for those who develop it.
Hypochondria, or hypochondriasis, is a psychological disorder characterized by the propensity to believe that you have a disease, despite there being no reasonable reason to reach that conclusion.
This makes them see evidence of having a pathology in a wide variety of small events of little importance , or that do not say too much about their state of health.
Here we will see some of its most distinctive features.
1. What indicates that distress from hypochondria is not justified?
As we have seen, people with hypochondria have a great facility to believe that they suffer from diseases, to the point that this propensity to become distressed with supposed signs and symptoms of pathologies erodes their quality of life.
Here it is important to stop to think about the difference between what we can consider reasonable reasons to suspect that we have a pathology, on the one hand, and objective reasons to think that . They may seem equivalent, but they are not.
For example, some disorders related to chronic pain can become very difficult to objectify, since ultimately what indicates its presence is the existence of pain sensation. In cases of this type, there is no objective reality on which the idea of "I have a disease" is based, but it is reasonable to think that something is wrong in our body.
Thus, hypochondria has to do with giving too much importance to events or phenomena that should not be attributed to a disease.
2. It is not a simple obsession with health
To say that someone with a hypochondriac is an individual who shows excessive concern for their own health would be inaccurate . In reality, hypochondria is based on a more specific type of concern: it is not the need to gain health by having a perfect body, but the fear of losing health.
3. Gain strength through rumination
Psychological rumination is what happens when a disturbing idea or mental image comes to mind over and over again, and makes us want it to disappear from our consciousness. In the case of hypochondria, this happens a lot, because since we assume that there is a problem in our body, almost any stimulus or sensation that we judge as abnormal can lead us to think about the possibility of having a pathology .
In turn, the fact of exposing ourselves several times to these unpleasant situations causes anticipatory anxiety to grow, given the possibility that with a new day there will be new signs that we have an illness.
4. It is prolonged in time
Hypochondria is a persistent condition that lasts for months . It is not a matter of having seen a documentary on the effects of processed food and spending an afternoon thinking about it.
What to do?
Here are several tips that can help people who have developed hypochondria.
1. Attend psychological therapy
The first and most important advice is to have help from psychologists , since only through this procedure will you have personalized attention and intervention measures adapted to the particularities of your case, and also by professionals specifically trained for interventions. of this type. Of course, keep in mind that therapy is a process that requires commitment, and leaving it early can mean going back to the starting box.
2. Keep a journal in which you write down what you feel
It is important that you get used to seeing beyond the thoughts and feelings related to hypochondria; Ideally, you should not limit yourself to living them in your own meats, but also learn about how and when they arise.
Through this process of psychological "reverse engineering", in which you begin to detect the thought patterns behind hypochondria (when it is expressed), it will be easier for you to understand how irrational those ideas are.
To achieve this, something very useful is to keep a self-record : a place that you should always have on hand and where you can write down basic information about what you think, feel and do at times when hypochondria manifests, writing down place, date and time, and what happened just before, during and right after each of those experiences.
3. Create routines that keep you away from rumination
Although you may not notice it, hypochondria does not arise spontaneously from your brain, but "feeds" on certain habits and contexts to which you are frequently exposed. Therefore, a good measure to adopt is to detect situations or contexts in general that tend to drag you into hypochondria, and opt for other options .
For example, if you notice that every time you visit YouTube you end up watching videos about diseases, it may be good to choose another way to fill part of your free time on the Internet, or to visit many videos on other topics so that the algorithm stops recommending those contents. . Or, if for whatever reason in your group of friends many people are doctors, you can ask them directly that when you are with them they do not talk about their work. The idea is to expose yourself to different situations, either by modifying your context or exposing yourself to new ones.
4. Don't try to block the discomfort
Hypochondria gains strength when we try to totally remove from our consciousness all the anxious thoughts that it generates. It is much better to gain ground by accepting that for a time it will cause us unease and discomfort .
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