hypochondria n.
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  1. Hypochondria

  2. What is it? • Hypochondriacs have the constant belief that something is medically wrong with them or that they have an illness or disease that they don’t really have. • Hypochondria is a long-term illness that can cause significant problems with work, family and other aspects of your life. • They also often have another underlying disorder such as anxiety, or depression.

  3. Symptoms • Fear or anxiety that you have a serious disease or health condition. • Constant worrying or anxiety about minor problems. Any bodily sensation might indicate they have something wrong with them. • Seeing doctors on a frequent basis and/or having exams done more than regularly. • Switching doctors or asking for second opinions over everything.

  4. Obsessively researching symptoms. • Checking their body of lumps, or sores more than normal. • Obsessively checking vital signs. • Believing you have an illness or disease after hearing about it.

  5. Risk Factors • Family history of illness or sudden death. • A serious childhood illness • Existing mental health disorders (Depression, anxiety, personality disorders) • Childhood abuse

  6. Witnessing violence • Personal traumatic history • Stressful experience with illness

  7. Diagnosis • Medical history is looked at • Physical examinations (CT Scan, MRI, X-Rays, blood work. Anything they can do to rule out believed illness) • If your fears last more than six months and does not improve or go away with reassurance and negative testing and elimination of any other psychological disorder

  8. Treatment • It is important to receive care and treatment from one supportive doctor and a mental health professional that you can trust. • Scheduling of frequent visits and regular check-ups to keep the fears at bay. • Psychotherapy and Behavioural Stress Therapy • Anti-Anxiety medications to help relieve the anxious feeling that you’re ill.

  9. Anti-depressants such as SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and TCA’s (Tricyclic Anti-depressants) may be helpful to relieve the symptoms but it isn’t proven. • (SSRI’s are a more tolerable form of anti-depressant as opposed to TCA’s. They’re used to treat mild symptoms, and have less harsh side-effects) • According to the National Institute of Mental Health, your psychological treatment will involve:

  10. Recognizing what seems to make the symptoms worse • Developing methods of coping with the symptoms • Keeping yourself more active, even if you still have symptoms

  11. Prevalence rates • Equally common in men and women. • According to the DSM-IV it is common between 1 and 5% of the general population, and 2 to 7% of the medical population. (Med students believing their ill with the constant research and learning about new illnesses)

  12. Resources in niagara Unfortunately there are not a lot of resources in Niagara that deal with Hypochondriacs, but your family physician is a great resource in getting help. It’s important to stick to one doctor and trust him or her. Canadian Mental Health Association Catharines 15 Wellington Street St. Catharines, ON L2R 5P7 E: info@cmhaniagara.caP: (905) 641-5222