If you read the book "Three in a boat, not countingdogs ", you probably remember the story of the protagonist, who after reading the medical guide found all the described diseases, except for the maternity fever. The situation is comical, but not so unrealistic as it may seem. This obsessive preoccupation with their health is called hypochondria.
Hypochondriacal syndrome, hypochondriacal disorder, hypochondria - all these are synonyms, denotingone and the same mental disorder, which relates to neuroses. Hypochondria is a condition in which a person is excessively preoccupied with his physical health and constantly suspects that he has some serious illnesses.
Hypochondriacs perceive quite normal sensations as unpleasant and abnormal. If a person has hypochondria, he constantlyworries that he can get sick, and often he is convinced that he is already sick. Sometimes a hypochondriac can suspect several diseases at once. Most often, the fears of hypochondriacs refer to the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal tract, the brain and the genital organs.
Inspection of the doctor does not give anything: a person suffering from hypochondria believes more of his feelings than a doctor's opinion. He would rather believe that the results of the tests are wrong and the doctor was mistaken than that he is completely healthy. Often hypochondriacas are replaced by several doctors to "get to the bottom of the truth."
Interestingly, hypochondria can cause changes in the physical state. This is a psychosomatic disorder: the constant fear for one's health affects the functioning of the autonomic nervous system, and it, in turn, affects the work of certain organs. There is no real threat to the body, but the hypochondriac is even more convinced that he is ill. So hypochondria is a kind of vicious circle.
Hypochondria is most often peculiar to people hypochondriac, disturbing. Hypochondria rarely appears on its own, it is usually combined with depression or other mental disorders.
Do not confuse hypochondria with Munchausen's syndrome. A patient with Munchausen syndrome knows thathealthy, but specifically simulates or causes symptoms in order to attract attention. Hypochondriac is sure that he is sick, although in fact his unpleasant feelings are contrived, and there are no symptoms.
It is rather difficult to treat this disorder, because hypochondriacs do not recognize their disease: they believe that their problem is of a physiological nature, not a mental one, and it is difficult to convince them.
Another problem is that, unlike many other psychiatric disorders, hypochondria in most cases can not be treated medically. If you assign medications to a hypochondriac, heonly confirmed in his opinion that his disease is physiological in nature: he was given a medicine! Hypochondria will not go anywhere, because the patient will find new "alarming symptoms" and come up with new diseases.
Hypochondria is treated with psychotherapy, and the methods of treatment depend on howit is the patient manifesting hypochondria. If the hypochondria is manifested, say, against the background of depression, then you need to first deal with depression: if depression can be managed, then your health concerns usually go away by itself. The same applies to other psychological disorders, against which hypochondria appears: the main efforts are usually applied to the treatment of the underlying disorder.
Also, in the case of hypochondria, the support of the attending physician, to whom the patient trusts. The doctor will help to separate the "grain from the chaff", that is, the real symptoms from the fictitious, will prevent unnecessary examinations and treatment, support the patient morally and instill in him optimism.
Hypochondria very hard to treat: this condition can last for years andexacerbate at any time, only a very small percentage of hypochondriacs really recover. Independently to cope with a hypochondria it is practically unreal, without the help of the expert to not manage. If the hypochondriac is in your immediate environment, you need to be treated with understanding, but do not indulge his suspiciousness.