Are you a Hypochondriac too?

Before I turned 19, I never knew I was already a hypochondriac, I just found out today… I was asked some questions:

1.) Do you often worry about the possibility that you have serious illness? - YES

2.) Do you worry a lot about your health? YES

3.) Do you often have the symptoms of serious illness? YES

4.) Is it hard for you to believe doctors when they tell you there’s nothing to worry about? YES

5.) Are you bothered by many aches and pains? YES

6.) Are you frequently aware of various things happening in your body? YES

7.) Do you find you’re bothered by many symptoms? YES

8.) If a disease is brought to your attention through radio, television, newspapers or someone you know, do you worry about getting it yourself? YES

9.) Do you think you worry about your health more than most people? YES

10.) Are you afraid of illness? YES

11.) Is it easy for you to forget yourself and think about all sorts of other things? NO

12.) If you’re ill and someone tells you you’re looking better, are you annoyed? YES

13.) Do you get the feeling that people aren’t taking your illness serious enough? YES

14.) Do you think there’s something seriously wrong with your body? YES

Hypochondria are a type of psychosomatic disorder, which means it's a psychological disorder with physical symptoms. Signs and symptoms revolve around bodily symptoms, functions or sensations. These bodily symptoms are often perfectly real, such as a cough, a sore on your skin or stomach pain. But people with hypochondria misinterpret these symptoms and attribute them to an imagined disease, such as cancer, heart disease or stroke, even when medical evidence proves otherwise

Common symptoms of hypochondria include:

 Excessive fear or anxiety about having a particular disease or condition – I am until I got diabetes! I dreaded this disease!

 Worry that minor symptoms mean you have a serious illness - Yes

 Seeking repeated medical exams or consultations – When I still have work and money, yes I do

 "Doctor shopping," or frequently switching doctors – I have 4 OB Gyne, 3 Cardiologist, 2 G.P and 1 Endo

 Frustration with doctors or medical care – Yes, when my heart exam came out ok, I can’t believe it because I can feel something is wrong, always beating fast

 Strained social relationships – yeah, I don’t go out often with friends, because, I am afraid of crowds now

 Obsessive health research – as in!

 Emotional distress – everyday, almost 24/7

 Frequent checking of your body for problems, such as lumps or sores - yes

 Frequent checking of vital signs, such as pulse or blood pressure – yes, I am just lucky my husband is very understanding, though sometimes he would complain but still he would check my BP

 Inability to be reassured by good medical exams – hmmm… sometimes I do

 Thinking you have a disease after reading or hearing about it – yes….

 Avoidance of situations that make you feel anxious, such as being in a hospital – yes, when I am at the peak of my nervousness, I am always thinking my family might bring me to the hospital which I don’t wanna happen!

And it's hard to handle...

Well, thats just brilliant! I would say that theres only one thing that has hurt more than being sick…and thats when a docyor listens to my symptoms,looks me up and down …and asks me" have you thought about anti depressants." Terrific!

feeling a fast heartbeat is often a sign of anxiety or panic attacks which are real illnesses

I totally understand, relate, and have the symptoms of hypochondria. In fact, of my many experiences with worry, not trusting doctors, and frustration towards others, a recent one that I had is similar to something you mentioned. I was up all night one night and as the hours passed my lack of sleep caused symptoms of paranoia. I was certain that my neighbors upstairs could hear me crying and were going to come knock on my door to tell me to shut up! By the time the sun came out, I was breathing rapidly, along with a racing heartbeat. Scared, (I live alone), I called an ambulance. After some blood tests and a couple of EKGs, the doctor helped me practice taking my pulse. At first I felt he was patronizing me, but when he explain that I needed to watch out for irregular heartbeat, and not rapid heartbeat, I listened to him. Turns out my rapid breathing and heartbeat were the results of a panic attack.

Hey Sara: panic attacks are a real illness, not hypochondria. There are various medicines that can treat them. I totally understand having trouble trusting doctors; I have run into many bad doctors in my 40 years of seeing shrinks–but some very good ones have finally gotten me into a much better place. It’s worth looking for a good dr to help with your terrifying symptoms.

You are right about that…my problem was that I was convinced that I was having a heart attack! I have been on medication for panic disorder for close to 11 years. 3 months after my blood sugar reading of 775 sent me to the ER (and I was diagnosed with type I diabetes), I was back there with a severe panic attack. Ever since then I have seen psychiatrists regularly (since moving to Virginia in 2005 I went through 4 before finding one that I liked…) and have been on multiple medications to treat the condition. Things are under pretty good control, but could be better. In the past year, I have ended up in the ER 4 times from being found past out in public places due to a severe drop in blood sugar. I’m working with my endocrinologist on fixing this problem.