If you have a loved one or friend who struggles with illness anxiety, there are many things you can do to support them. Our experts on counseling in Winter Park suggest the following tips for helping them manage their problems.
Illness anxiety is a genuine disorder. It is a precise diagnosis. Formerly called hypochondria or hypochondriasis, this mental health problem significantly impacts a person's relationships, functioning, well-being, feelings, and quality of life. Unfortunately, when someone has illness anxiety, others often get frustrated and act invalidating or critical. It is far more beneficial to recognize their suffering and encourage them lovingly to pursue treatment.
Friends and family need to cooperate in enabling the sufferer to pursue therapy for the disability. The first step toward treatment is seeing a primary care provider for various reasons. For example, a doctor can assess whether the illness anxiety is regarding a legitimate health problem. Remember that even when the sufferer has a legitimate health concern or problem, their fear is often disproportionate to the circumstances. Also, a doctor can evaluate whether their anxiety is exacerbated or induced by physical issues. If neither of these alternatives accounts for the reported anxiety level, then an illness anxiety diagnosis may be in order. Some primary doctors offer to treat anxiety using pharmaceutical drugs.
Mental health professionals treat illness anxiety because it is a mental health issue. Therefore, psychiatrists assess, diagnose, and prescribe pharmaceuticals to address the sufferer's stress. In addition, clinical social workers, psychologists, and mental health counselors also diagnose and assess illness anxiety. They offer talk therapy to help cope and improve your quality of life. It may be helpful to accompany the sufferer to their treating clinician if you are near them. You can input the severity and character of their illness anxiety and discover skills for supporting them sufficiently.
You need to understand the nature of an issue and know general recommendations for managing it to best help a person cope with a problem. Therefore, it would be beneficial to educate yourself about illness anxiety. You can do this by reading books, articles, or handouts about it or listening to audiobooks, podcasts, or videos. In addition, a Google search for these terms may be valuable:
It is useful to lean on respected information authorities like prominent medical institutes, like the Cleveland Clinic or Mayo Clinic, and read from authors with mental health degrees. One excellent strategy is searching for .org or .gov sites, and Psychology Today and other specialty magazines also provide essential information.
Use these tips to help a loved one cope with illness anxiety disorder. In addition, we can help you find optimal mental health and well-being if you need counseling in Winter Park. Contact us today for more details.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.