- Step 1: Know what it is Know what a hypochondriac is -- someone who is constantly convinced they have some kind of physical ailment, even though doctors can find nothing wrong. Hypochondriacs tend to misinterpret minor health issues as symptoms of something more serious.
- TIP: Hypochondria usually begins in early adulthood and affects men and women equally.
- Step 2: Recognize the symptoms Recognize the symptoms. Hypochondriacs have a history of seeing many doctors, are not reassured by negative test results, and spend a lot of time checking their body for symptoms and then investigating them. They're often overly concerned with a specific body part or function, and this preoccupation interferes with their work and relationships.
- Step 3: Get evaluated Get evaluated by a mental-health professional -- preferably one who specializes in hypochondria. If it's discovered you have a mood or anxiety disorder in addition to hypochondria, an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drug may be prescribed.
- Step 4: Consider psychotherapy Consider therapy, which can be effective in changing the way you think and behave regarding medical concerns. A psychotherapist may also be able to help you with any stress in your life that may be exacerbating your condition. Hypochondria is difficult to overcome, so treatment focuses on managing the disorder rather than curing it.
- TIP: Some research indicates that cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of psychotherapy, is the most effective type of treatment.
- Step 5: Find a compassionate doctor Find a compassionate doctor you trust -- one who will do their best to allay your fears; protect you from unnecessary tests and treatments; and monitor you for signs of real illness.
- FACT: 1 out of every 20 Americans who see a doctor is a hypochondriac.
You Will Need
- Psychological evaluation
- Trusted doctor
- Antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication (optional)