Health anxiety worse during a pandemic

Health Watch

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Health anxiety, a condition that used to be known as hypochondria, is an obsessive and irrational fear about having a serious medical condition. For many, the COVID pandemic has worsened their worries. Ivanhoe reports on ways to help combat this unwelcome disorder.

The coronavirus headlines can make anyone uneasy.

But if you have health anxiety, the grim statistics can send your worries into overdrive. With health anxiety, healthy patients fret, panic, and obsess over medical concerns.

“Despite your efforts at self-talk and whatever else you do, you can’t get rid of it,” explained psychiatrist Harry A. Croft, MD.

If your symptoms interfere with your ability to think, perform everyday activities, or sleep, it’s a good idea to seek medical help. Medications and therapy can help.

“Far and away, the best treatment for anxiety disorders are therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy or desensitization therapy,” Dr. Croft continued.

Some other tips: steer clear of sensationalized media coverage. Instead, get your information directly from sources like the CDC or the World Health Organization. Avoid googling your symptoms to self-diagnose. Try meditation, yoga, exercise, or other healthy distractions to redirect your energy. Also, avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, which can trigger episodes. And go easy on yourself. Battling anxiety is challenging, especially during a pandemic.

Some experts believe health anxiety could affect more than 12 percent of the population. The disorder seems to impact men and women equally.

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