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Suggest treatment for hypochondriasis

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Posted on Wed, 23 Jul 2014
Question: I have VERY bad health anxiety - an obsession over my health and all the things that can go wrong. I don't think it's hypochondria because from what I read, a hypochondriac will "invent" problems, whereas my fears are based on past experience.

Two months ago I had hernia surgeries and found a bulge that I worried was a recurrence. THREE different practitioners (including my primary doc and one surgeon) have examined the area and have found no problem. Yet I still worry.

I still have one more follow-up scheduled with my original surgeon, but that isn't the point - even if he says everything's fine, a week later I'll be obsessing about it again, and I'm deathly afraid of recurrence in the future. If given a clean XXXXXXX of health, my obsession will just move to something else like cancer.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS: Just go see the doctor, it'll put your mind at ease.

While intellectually I know that 99% chance nothing is wrong right now, the point is that no matter how many practitioners tell me that I'm fine, I can't be re-assured - my mind cannot be put at ease. Prior to doctor's appointments I get really nervous and anxious, I can't eat, I sleep too much, and I obsess about the visit, google my health concerns, and drive my family nuts with my "what-ifs". Meanwhile I can't live a normal life because I spend half my time obsessing over what might happen. I cannot just keep going to doctor after doctor, so I resolve to not see anyone else about this until my next follow-up. I hope I can accomplish that

I'm convinced my surgeon did a good job. He used a component separation with biological mesh, and then elevated the muscles to put in a tension-free closure to prevent another hernia sac from developing in that space. Intellectually I'm sure that I'm ok, but why am I still nervous??

I know that this problem is not about the hernia or surgeries, it's about me and not being able to let things go and just enjoy my life.

What can I do??? I have an appointment with my psychiatrist next week but I'm looking at things to try or reassure myself in the meantime (and I'm running out of Xanax). Are there any self-help programs, maybe Internet websites, videos that can help me stabilize/reassure myself in the meantime?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Abhishek Kapoor (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
You need CBT

Detailed Answer:
Hi
Thanks for using healthcare magic. I, Dr Abhishek Kapoor, would help you in this query.

You are right.You may have hypochondriasis. In that case, you need some antidepressant like fluoxetine or duloxetine that would help you to control these thoughts. You can also try some psychotherapy in form of cognitive behavioral therapy. That would help to control the symptoms. You should also consult a psychologist for that. There are lot of self help programs in form of website or video, but best thing in your case would be CBT.

In case, you need further help, you can ask.

Regards
Dr. Abhishek Kapoor
Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Abhishek Kapoor (21 minutes later)
Thank you for your very fast reply! You have confirmed what I thought that it is CBT required for hypochondria. I definitely will look for CBT therapist but as that can take a couple of weeks to get going and find a psychologist I wonder if you have any tips on something I can do in the meantime.

doctor
Answered by Dr. Abhishek Kapoor (11 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Try relaxation exercise or thought stoppage

Detailed Answer:
Hi

Mean time you can take your medicine and can try some relaxation exercise like JPMR. It would help to control underline anxiety and would keep you calm. You can also try some thought stoppage exercise like reverse counting (9 to 1), day counting (Sunday to Monday) etc. That would help to control these thoughts in better way.

In case, you need further help, you can consult me any time directly.

Regards
Dr. Abhishek Kapoor
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Answered by
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Dr. Abhishek Kapoor

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2007

Answered : 2496 Questions

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Suggest treatment for hypochondriasis

Brief Answer: You need CBT Detailed Answer: Hi Thanks for using healthcare magic. I, Dr Abhishek Kapoor, would help you in this query. You are right.You may have hypochondriasis. In that case, you need some antidepressant like fluoxetine or duloxetine that would help you to control these thoughts. You can also try some psychotherapy in form of cognitive behavioral therapy. That would help to control the symptoms. You should also consult a psychologist for that. There are lot of self help programs in form of website or video, but best thing in your case would be CBT. In case, you need further help, you can ask. Regards Dr. Abhishek Kapoor Psychiatrist