Very few people never worry.
It’s normal for the rest of us to worry about different areas of our lives from time to time. It could be our relationships, education, careers, or health.
Health anxiety, however, isn’t just a regular concern.
It is a persistent fear of having a serious health condition even when there are no symptoms or only minor symptoms.
Health anxiety doesn’t affect only healthy people; people with existing health conditions can develop it too.
Health anxiety can have different manifestations.
Some people worry about developing a specific disease, such as cancer, while others could be generally worried without being specific. Yet, some others may switch from one concern to another.
There is no online test that can give you a diagnosis. The quiz below is only an interactive checklist that can help you pinpoint some of the typical behaviors for people with health anxiety.
Once again, being worried about your health from time to time is expected.
However, it becomes a problem if your worries are persistent and out of proportion, if they cause you significant distress, consume your life and lead to excessive behaviors.
Please consult a mental health professional if you have any doubts.
I can’t get rid of the feeling that something is wrong with me.
I frequently check my body for signs of illness (e.g., lumps, moles, pain, tingling, etc.).
I constantly seek reassurance that I am OK (from doctors and/or others).
I always worry that doctors may have missed something.
I am consumed by researching health information on the Internet.
I stopped exercising and socializing due to my health concerns.
I avoid medical shows or movies with medical themes because I find them very triggering.
I avoid going to doctors, even if I need to.
I refuse to have medical tests performed because I am too worried about the result.
Because of my health worries, I find it difficult to relax and do something else.
Because of my doubts, I frequently have medical tests performed and/or repeated.
I often visit my doctor to discuss my health concerns.
I always discuss my symptoms with friends, family members, and colleagues.
I am worried about my health even after receiving reassurance from medical professionals that I am healthy.
I use medical devices such as a blood pressure monitor and blood glucose meter for additional reassurance.
I always worry about the health of my family members and scan them for signs of illness.
If you checked more than one sign (nobody checks all!), you might be experiencing significant discomfort due to intrusive negative thoughts regarding your health.
Health anxiety, like any type of anxiety, can have lots of negative effects, including
- strained relationships
- underperforming at work/school
- unnecessary expenses due to frequent doctors’ visits and multiple tests
- inability to enjoy things
- decreased quality of life
Health anxiety can be reduced or treated with psychotherapy, particularly CBT. The treatment is focused on improving your ability to function (work, study, exercise, socialize, etc.) and decreasing your symptoms. Some people may need medication in addition to psychotherapy.
If you think you have some of the symptoms of health anxiety, it’s a good idea to discuss them with a mental health professional.