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Health anxiety Talking Therapies

Health anxiety

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Some of the common symptoms of health anxiety

Have you been feeling?

  • anxious
  • worried
  • frightened
  • panicky
  • tense
  • stressed
  • unsettled

Have you had thoughts like?

  • ‘Something is wrong with my health’
  • ‘Something terrible is going to happen to me’
  • ‘I am ill/unwell’
  • ‘The doctor has missed something , I am going to die’
  • ‘I might die if I don’t find someone who can help me’

Have you noticed?

  • uncomfortable sensations in your body
  • dizziness
  • palpitations
  • headaches
  • you are constantly worrying about your health
  • you are imaging the worst
  • you are scanning your body for any abnormal sensations or symptoms
  • you are constantly seeking reassurance from friends, family, and doctors from your symptoms
  • you are avoiding anything that you think may make you more ill
  • researching illnesses and symptoms on the internet, television, or in books

Possible causes of health anxiety

  • stressful life events – these can be unwelcome or traumatic, such as being unwell, being bullied at work, getting divorced, or being attacked/abused
  • seriousness illness or death within your friends or family
  • anxiety and obsessive personality traits
  • learnt behaviour – you can learn to worry and be anxious; your childhood or life experiences may be the reason for this

How common is health anxiety?

Health anxiety is experienced by 6.7 per cent of people in England.

Want to read more about health anxiety?

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