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Everyone worries about their health sometimes. However, health anxiety can be a quite serious problem when it gets more entrenched. Health anxiety is an obsessive and irrational worry about having a serious medical condition. It’s also called illness anxiety, and it used to be called hypochondria.
With health anxiety, you believe you have an illness that you don’t actually have. Another form of health anxiety is somatization disorder, where you interpret small bodily sensations as being a symptom of something serious.
But health anxiety is a real paradox. There are some things a lot of people try to soothe their anxiety that actually feeds it. This is called the health anxiety cycle. But there is an escape – it’s just different from what you might think.
In this video you’ll learn five things you might do that make health anxiety worse (and what to do instead).
The health anxiety cycle usually starts with something like a sensation in your body or even just hearing about someone else’s illness.
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Therapy in a Nutshell and the information provided by Emma McAdam are solely intended for informational and entertainment purposes and are not a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment regarding medical or mental health conditions. Although Emma McAdam is a licensed marriage and family therapist, the views expressed on this site or any related content should not be taken for medical or psychiatric advice. Always consult your physician before making any decisions related to your physical or mental health.
In therapy I use a combination of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Systems Theory, positive psychology, and a bio-psycho-social approach to treating mental illness and other challenges we all face in life. The ideas from my videos are frequently adapted from multiple sources. Many of them come from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, especially the work of Steven Hayes, Jason Luoma, and Russ Harris. The sections on stress and the mind-body connection derive from the work of Stephen Porges (the Polyvagal theory), Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing) Francine Shapiro (EMDR), and Bessel Van Der Kolk. I also rely heavily on the work of the Arbinger institute for my overall understanding of our ability to choose our life’s direction.
And deeper than all of that, the Gospel of Jesus Christ orients my personal worldview and sense of security, peace, hope, and love
If you are in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or your local emergency services.
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