WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Hypochondriasis is an ongoing fear that you have a serious illness, even though caregivers have told you that you do not. Because you are very anxious about your health, you may go to many different caregivers. When caregivers tell you that you do not have a serious health problem, you may not believe them. Hypochondriasis can make you feel very frustrated and depressed.
- Antianxiety medicine: This medicine may be given to decrease anxiety and help you feel calm and relaxed.
- Antidepressants: This medicine is given to decrease or prevent symptoms of depression. Antidepressants can also be used to treat other behavior problems. It may take 3 weeks or more for some antidepressant medicines to start working.
- If a medicine makes you drowsy: Some medicines may make you drowsy (tired) or less able to think clearly. Avoid driving, signing legal papers, operating heavy equipment or other activities that you must be alert to do. Never drink alcohol while you are taking medicines that make you feel drowsy or less alert.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Each time you meet with your caregivers, they will ask you how you are feeling. Caregivers will watch how you respond to your medicines. Tell caregivers about side effects or problems you may be having with your medicine. Sometimes the kind and amount of medicine may have to be changed.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Therapy can be done alone or in a group with other patients. It may also be done with members of your family or your significant other. You may have the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: This therapy helps to make you aware of how you see things. You may have trouble seeing the good in things around you. Then you are more likely to feel depressed, sad, or angry. Cognitive therapy teaches you to recognize how you see things and helps you to see them in a more positive way.
- Distraction: This is a way of focusing your attention on something other than your problem or feelings. Playing cards or games, watching TV, or taking a walk are some ways to do this. Other ways are visiting with friends, painting, or writing down your feelings. These planned activities may help you manage your feelings.
For support and more information:
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Public Information & Communication Branch
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda , MD 20892-9663
Phone: 1- 301 - 443-4513
Phone: 1- 866 - 615-6464
Web Address: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/
- American Psychiatric Association
1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1825
Arlington , VA 22209
Phone: 1- 703 - 907-7300
Phone: 1- 888 - 357-7924
Web Address: http://www.psych.org
Contact your primary healthcare provider or psychiatrist if:
- You are not able to sleep well, or you are sleeping more than usual.
- You cannot eat, or you are eating more than usual.
- You cannot make it to your next visit. .
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You think about hurting yourself or someone else.
- You have a rash, swelling, or trouble breathing or swallowing after you take antidepressant medicine.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.