This is how you can tell if you are suffering from itPlease mark the corresponding words in the text. With only two clicks you report the error to the editorial office.
If you listen carefully to your body, you take your health seriously. But the threshold to become a hypochondriac is often small. Sufferers go to the doctor all the time, but no examination dispels their fear of illness. How hypochondriacs suffer, when it becomes dangerous for them and what helps.
For links on this page FOCUS Online receives if necessary. a commission from the dealer, z.B. for with marked. Hypochondriacs do not trust their bodies. Living under constant fear of diseases. Hypochondriacs are not malingerers, but are actually suffering.
hypochondria can usually be cured.
We are not talking about people who take vitamin pills every day or who are afraid that they caught a cold during yesterday's visit to the beer garden. Hypochondriacs are driven by much stronger fear, such as the, .
Cancer is the most common fear of hypochondriacs
"This is their most common fear," says Gaby Bleichhardt, a scientist at the University of Marburg. The psychological psychotherapist has herself conducted numerous studies on the subject of hypochondria. The scientist ames that there are around 400.000 cases of diagnosable hypochondria in Germany. However, several million people suffer from illness anxiety below the diagnosis threshold.
Many people are concerned that they will get cancer one day. That's why they pay special attention to their health., how to recognize the mental disorder?
– Thoughts of illness dominate the day. – Permanent thoughts of illness last longer than half a year. – Thoughts of illness interfere with everyday life.
How to recognize hypochondria: thoughts of illness from early to late in life
"They suffer constantly from the fear of having stomach cancer, for example ", explains the expert.
It starts as soon as you wake up, with sufferers asking themselves the questions: "Am I having stomach pains again, is it really cancer??" Afterwards they feel their abdomen, with the fear of discovering something conspicuous, and they naturally deal with the subject again.
In between then the Internet is durchforstet, after new info. over stomach cancer and its signs. If in the evening there is a report about cancer on television, the day also ends with this thought.
In case of dizziness, the hypochondriac fears multiple sclerosis
Another frequent object of fear are nervous diseases, i.e. neurological diseases. With muscle twitching and dizziness the hypochondriac does not think, that comes from stress, from too little liquid or occurs simply only temporarily times and is completely normal. He is sure that there is a serious disease behind it, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which can trigger these symptoms, among others.
The fear of illness changes the life of the hypochondriac
Similar is the case with headaches as a symptom of a supposed brain tumor or harmless heart stumbling as a sign of a dramatic cardiac insufficiency .
"If the fear of having a serious illness lasts for at least six months and significantly impairs the quality of life, it is called hypochondria," says Gaby Bleichhardt.
Because the fear of being ill can significantly change our thoughts and actions. Not all sufferers manage to flirt with it as amusingly as the prominent hypochondriacs Woody Allen, Harald Schmidt or Charlie Chaplin.
Examination result "without findings" only provides temporary rearance
The great mass of other hypochondriacs is extremely burdened by daily worries. Even if a colonoscopy and gastroscopy show that the organs are completely healthy or only a little irritated, the hypochondriac cannot believe this in the long run. Has not the doctor overlooked something?
With this concern, he turns to the nearest specialist practice. A medical odyssey begins. It often takes up to ten years before the diagnosis of "hypochondria" is made and professional help follows.
Sufferers are not malingerers, but body pessimists
So much time often passes because hypochondriacs are not taken seriously by their environment – and also by the doctors who treat them. Yet their suffering is not imagined, but they actually feel burdened. They no longer trust their bodies and interpret every bodily sign negatively, "are body pessimists, so to speak," is how the expert sums it up. But where does this negative attitude toward one's own body come from?. The all-dominant fear of illness? "Many factors often play together here," reports Gaby Bleichhardt from her practice. Some examples:
– anxious parents who warned the child of every risk, no matter how small, and constantly feared that he or she might get sick – a serious illness in childhood that required the child to take a close look at his or her own health – drastic experiences with illness and death, such as the sudden cardiac death of the 26-year-old friend on the ski slope or the death from breast cancer of the sister who was only 35 years old.
This helps hypochondriacs
In the end, hypochondria is hardly dangerous, but the constant anxiety wears on the body and nerves, and can lead to isolation. One in two untreated hypochondriacs also develops depression.
Thereby there are effective treatments, which lead out of the hypochondria again. "With cognitive behavioral therapy, 60 to 90 percent of patients succeed in returning to a normal life without anxiety," says Gaby Bleichhardt. Outpatient psychotherapy consists of about 20 hours and lasts about half a year.
The patient learns which mechanisms can be behind the body symptoms and how harmless they can be. In addition, he is instructed to change his behavior, to stop going to the doctor all the time, to talk about the supposed disease frequently, and to stop finding out about it constantly on the Internet. Like the rapid advances in immuno-oncology. Genetic engineering to revolutionize cancer therapy. In addition, the addresses of the top doctors. Top clinics throughout Germany.