Let's Talk About Health Anxiety
Updated: Jul 18
During a pandemic, most people worry about their health to some extent. It is natural to be anxious about either what comes next or what will happen after contracting COVID-19. Because this virus is so new, so many people are conducting researching and looking for ways to keep themselves and their loved one safe. For this reason, Health anxiety disorder must be considered. Those with health anxiety can become so preoccupied with the fear of contracting illness, that it consumes them and keeps them from living their normal life.
One with health anxiety disorder may mistake fictitious symptoms for real symptom of the corona-virus. For reassurance, they may excessively monitor themselves, ask other people to check if they are sick, or constantly seek help from professionals. And while it is good to seek professional help, doing so in excess strains the resource. Some individuals with health anxiety disorder might avoid seeing a doctor, fearing they will detect something dangerous within them.
There are assessments that a medical professional can perform on you to determine if you actually have health anxiety disorder or just are experiencing reasonable worries.
Typical behaviors of this disorder can be done out of fear of being in the worst situation possible. While some levels of suspicion are healthy, an excess of fear can be all- encompassing and prevent one from living their lives the way they want to. If one has health anxiety disorder, the fear will get in the way of their doing other things: You may not want to go outside for fear of contracting an illness, or because you don’t want to be away from your medicine stash on the off-chance that you do catch its symptoms.
Fact-seeking helps an individual with an illness or potential to contract an illness (the majority of people during the pandemic) understand the prognosis of a disease and the things that they can do to prevent or manage it's spread to them. Such can be checking venues ahead of time (number of participants), arranging emergency contacts, or researching the signs and symptoms of the illness.
The difference between fear and fact-checking is that those who experience fear will dwell on what they have fact-checked and constantly seek reassurance.
There is no denying that this pandemic has caused huge spikes in the number of individuals experiencing anxiety and depression. There are so many reasons to be stressed and scared right now. If you feel anxious about your health, that’s okay! Everyone experiences it from time to time, and it’s only normal. Stay safe everyone!
"Health Anxiety." Anxiety Canada. Anxiety Canada, 06 Aug. 2020. Web. 18 June 2021.