Anxiety can strike us in the most unexpected ways, even when we don't know it. It can overtake us at work. Sometimes, anxiety can make us react violently to things that aren't there too. When this logic is applied to our health, it can have a negative effect on the body.
Disease anxiety, also known as hypochondria or health anxiety, is a form of anxiety affecting many people worldwide. The anxiety condition causes people to excessively worry about their health, to the point of making that same anxiety affect their health in a negative way.
People with that form of anxiety start experiencing unexplained physical symptoms, including chest pain and headaches, usually misinterpreted as a serious health issue. Others simply worry themselves with the thought of becoming physically impaired with any type of illness, especially if they're afraid of developing a chronic illness like heart disease and/or cancer.
There isn't an exact cause behind health anxiety, as it can affect people in different ways. As an example, some people develop the condition due to stress in their lives, particularly if a person has suffered through the illness and/or death of a loved one. Some people may have suffered childhood/adolescent illnesses, maintaining lingering fears and negative thoughts about that same condition potentially affecting them in the present.
People who are vulnerable to excessive worrying can develop disease anxieties, though most develop the condition out of an unexplained fear of developing an illness. In addition, people with mental illnesses are also susceptible to developing this condition, especially if they have untreated depression and/or anxiety disorders.
It's important to recognize when you have some form of disease anxiety. When left untreated, this condition can actually aggravate actual health conditions such as lower back pain, eczema and even irritable bowel syndrome. It can develop into a harmful cycle of excessive worrying that leads to physical pain, leading to more anxiety and even depression if a person can't understand why they suffer from the condition.
People with health anxiety, however, don't have to excessively worry about their health. Resolving issues with health worries involves understanding why illnesses deeply affect them. A lot of anxieties in our lives are fostered out of fear—and it's understanding those same fears that can help us defeat them in the end.
Disease anxiety sufferers can actually seek help from a therapist and/or doctor for treatment. Although extensive therapy is an ideal treatment option for the condition, some people get prescribed medication to help treat their anxieties.