What is health anxiety?
Please note that the Internet-based treatment described on this website is conducted in Swedish and only available to people registered and living in Sweden.
Do you worry excessively about your health?
When suffering from health anxiety it is common that you worry about having or getting cancer, heart diseases and/or other serious conditions. The anxiety can be triggered by, for example, reading about illnesses or taking notice of signals from inside the body. Even if you are aware that the anxiety is excessive, it can be extremely difficult to let go of the idea that you might have or get a severe disease.
- Health anxiety is excessive worrying about getting or having a serious illness.
- This concern is exaggerated in relation to the actual risk or in relation to the symptoms you experience
- Anxious thoughts can be triggered by a variety of things, like reading about diseases or watching TV about death.
- Sudden bodily sensations, for example in the form of diffuse pain or small muscle spasms, may also be intimidating. Bodily reactions are often interpreted as signs of illnesses.
- People suffering from health anxiety often develop strategies to deal with their concerns such as repeatedly checking the body, seeking information about illnesses, frequent medical visits or asking relatives for insurance
- It is also common that health anxiety leads to avoidance of issues that could trigger anxiety, for example health facilities, health contacts, exposing the body to physical exertion and so on.
One to five percent of the population are estimated to have severe health anxiety.
It is common for health anxiety to cause great problems for those suffering from it. It can be difficult to concentrate on other things than the fear of disease, which can have a negative effect on the ability to work. Relationships may suffer, especially if you seek support from the people close to you when the anxiety rises.
Health anxiety can make it complicated to seek health care. Many, but not all, suffering from the condition seek health care more often than people usually do. This takes time and energy, can be expensive and lead to feelings of guilt and a growing reluctance towards seeking health care in the future.
Others with health anxiety never seek treatment, as a way of reducing anxiety. This too can be a problem if it means you don't seek health care when needed.
Long-term health anxiety can lead to a growing frustration and not seldom feeling down. If the anxious thoughts about getting a serious disease are often recurring, there is a risk that they will have a negative effect on your everyday activities and you might gradually become more passive.
The Internet-based treatment described on this website is conducted in Swedish and only available to people registered and living in Sweden.