In this brief guide, we will look at anxiety from being sick as well as some ways on how to cope with it.
Anxiety from Being Sick
Anxiety from being sick can be a result of not feeling well and then feeling like the situation will just not get better and worrying about the symptoms one is feeling.
In some cases, anxiety from being sick can also blow up out of proportion to a point where one might start to feel like they may develop some huge illness or that their small or perhaps even vague symptoms are actually symptoms of a much larger illness.
Anxiety from being sick can also be caused by the fact that the person is not able to function as normal and work may keep piling up, and feelings of inadequacy are what often lead to anxiety.
One may also often feel like they are not able to cope with things because they are constantly sick, and as a result of that, they may experience feelings of not being able to accomplish the things they need to.
When someone experiences anxiety from being sick they may not be able to deal with the symptoms either, because anxiety also causes physical symptoms of its own, and as a result, one may start to feel even more overwhelmed and not know how to deal with things.
When one starts feeling anxiety from being sick they may also find that the symptoms they have also tend to get worse, given how anxiety can make someone feel when they are sick.
People who experience anxiety from being sick every time they get sick might also be suffering from an anxiety disorder like somatoform disorder or illness anxiety, and that is also something that should be differentiated properly.
There are many anxiety disorders related to being sick, and these are characterized by the prominent focus on somatic concerns, which may also lead the person to seek medical help more often than someone else might.
Most people who experience anxiety from being sick or even anxiety about being sick may seek more medical help rather than psychological. It is also possible that they may start focusing on their medical or somatic symptoms so much that they may end up making their anxiety worse as well.
Anxiety from being sick is also likely to be very focused on the symptom disorder that the person is suffering from, and usually in clinical settings, experts may use methods of characterizing individuals who may have been considered in the past for a diagnosis of somatization disorder.
It has also been seen that about 75% of individuals previously diagnosed with hypochondriasis are subsumed under the diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder. On the other hand, about 25% of individuals with hypochondriasis have high health anxiety in the absence of somatic symptoms, and many such individuals’ symptoms would not qualify for an anxiety disorder diagnosis.
Illness anxiety disorder is different from anxiety from being sick, as illness anxiety usually takes place in the absence of actual symptoms and the person may just constantly worry that they have some kind of illness or that they may contract some kind of illness.
While anxiety from bringing sick obviously arises from the physical symptoms that the person is experiencing, there are also various psychological factors that affect other medical conditions as well, meaning that the person can also start experiencing a heightened state of anxiety when they are sick or because they are experiencing certain symptoms.
Illness anxiety used to be known as Hypochondriasis but it has since been renamed appropriately to refer to anxiety about possibly falling ill.
There are individuals who worry about developing some sort of serious or grave illness constantly and they are often not able to focus on anything but that because they are just inconsolable or unpersuadable about the fact that they will be sick.
The DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for Illness Anxiety are given as follows:
- “Preoccupation with having or acquiring a serious illness.
- Somatic symptoms are not present or, if present, are only mild in intensity. If another medical condition is present or there is a high risk for developing a medical condition (e.g., strong family history is present), the preoccupation is clearly excessive or disproportionate.
- There is a high level of anxiety about health, and the individual is easily alarmed about personal health status.
- The individual performs excessive health-related behaviours (e.g., repeatedly checks his or her body for signs of illness) or exhibits maladaptive avoidance (e.g., avoids doctor appointments and hospitals).
- Illness preoccupation has been present for at least 6 months, but the specific illness that is feared may change over that period of time.
- The illness-related preoccupation is not better explained by another mental disorder, such as somatic symptom disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or delusional disorder, somatic type.”
There are two subtypes further specified under illness anxiety disorder, and these are the Care seeking type and Care avoidant type. People who are constantly going to doctors or trying to figure out what is wrong with them and asking for diagnostic tests and so on are the people included under the care-seeking types, whereas the care avoidant types are those that worry about possibly falling sick but never actually try to rectify it or try to figure out what is wrong with them.
The DSM 5 also outlines some essential behavioural or significant features that may be seen in people with an anxiety disorder as well, which are as follows:
“Their concerns about undiagnosed disease do not respond to appropriate medical reassurance, negative diagnostic tests, or benign course. The physician’s attempts at reassurance and symptom palliation generally do not alleviate the individual’s concerns and may heighten them.”
“Illness concerns assume a prominent place in the individual’s life, affecting daily activities, and may even result in invalidism. Illness becomes a central feature of the individual’s identity and self-image, a frequent topic of social discourse, and a characteristic response to stressful life events.”
“Individuals with the disorder often examine themselves repeatedly (e.g., examining one’s throat in the mirror) (Criterion D). They research their suspected disease excessively (e.g., on the Internet) and repeatedly seek reassurance from family, friends, or physicians.”
“This incessant worrying often becomes frustrating for others and may result in considerable strain within the family. In some cases, the anxiety leads to maladaptive avoidance of situations (e.g., visiting sick family members) or activities (e.g., exercise) that these individuals fear might jeopardize their health.”
Hypochondria vs Being Sick from Anxiety
Illness anxiety, or hypochondria, is anxiety-related disorders that occur in the absence of actual physical symptoms, whereas being sick because of anxiety may simply include the commonly seen physical symptoms of anxiety.
Being sick from anxiety often refers to the kind of physical symptoms that are experienced in generalized anxiety disorder, and these are the type that is also seen in other anxiety disorders like Panic disorder or social anxiety disorder, or even agoraphobia.
These physical symptoms one might experience when they are sick from anxiety are as follows:
- Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.
- Muscle tension.
- Sleep disturbance
- Being easily fatigued.
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
- Appetite changes
- Upset stomach
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint.
- Chills or heat sensations.
- Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations).
- Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate.
- Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering.
- Choking sensations.
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Trembling or shaking.
How to deal with Anxiety from Being Sick
To deal with anxiety from being sick, you can try the following sick:
Meditation practices like relaxation or deep breathing are often extremely helpful with people who are suffering from anxiety of any kind, and if it is anxiety from being sick, these may be exceptionally helpful.
When one does things like abdominal breathing or relaxation exercises like guided imagery, they teach their mind to calm down, and this can significantly reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety-like palpitations or dizziness, and this can, in turn, reduce the experience of being sick.
Another thing that can really help with anxiety from being sick is psychotherapy because therapy seeks to change wrong schemas that a person has and make them more likely to think of their symptoms in a less blown out way.
If you are experiencing anxiety from being sick you may also find it helpful to stay away from the internet and reading about things, because in most cases this only seeks to worsen your condition.
In this brief guide, we looked at anxiety from being sick as well as some ways on how to cope with it. If you have any questions or comments about anxiety from being sick please reach out to us any time.
What we recommend for curbing Anxiety
Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety
- Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.
- Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.
- With over 50,000 participants, this anxiety course may be just what you need to regain control of your life.
- Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night. An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Anxiety from Being Sick
Can sickness cause anxiety?
Yes, sickness can cause anxiety. Sickness can cause anxiety both as an associated symptom as well as due to the person being afraid of falling ill again. There are also unusual and rare diseases that can cause anxiety, like Wilson’s disease, which is a genetic disorder of copper metabolism and porphyria, which is a disorder of blood metabolism. In addition to anxiety, these diseases can also cause other psychological symptoms.
How do you stop anxiety sickness?
To stop anxiety sickness, you can try the following things:
- Wear something loose and comfortable
- Eat something like plain crackers or plain bread, something dry and in small amounts
- Sip water slowly or have something clear and cold.
- Take deep breaths
- Get some fresh air
Can a cold make you anxious?
Yes, a cold can make you anxious, especially if you are suffering from congestion or a nose block, because this can affect your breathing and when someone is suffering from obstructed breathing of any kind, they are more likely to experience anxiety.
When someone has a cold they may also experience anxiety because they may have symptoms like headaches or feeling cold, which are also commonly associated with anxiety.
Why am I so afraid of getting sick?
You may be afraid of getting sick because you are experiencing health anxiety, which is a legitimate condition that many people suffer from, especially if they have gotten sick before of experienced conditions of bad health states in those around them.
Health anxiety can happen to healthy people and make them constantly worry about getting sick, and this may happen even when they have no symptoms. Being afraid of getting sick can get to a point where the person simply cannot focus on things anymore and all they can think about is the fact that they might get sick.