Hypochondria: Disease Simulators?
“Yes, he’s just a hypochondriac,” “I’ve put hypochondria on myself,” we say with irritation about an overly sensitive, dull, constantly complaining person, not always realizing that hypochondria is in fact a disease.
Hypochondria is referred to as mental disorders, and is characterized by the fact that the person suffering from hypochondria is overly and unreasonably concerned about his state of health.
Hypochondria can act as an independent disease, and can be a symptom of mental illness, in particular schizophrenia.
Hypochondriacs are not so few: according to various sources, of all those who go to doctors, they range from 3 to 20% (in the USA).
Both men and women are usually affected by this disorder; usually the disease develops after 35–40 years old, the second peak occurs at the age after 60.
Causes of Hypochondria
Hypochondria is a multifactorial disorder, that is, it has several causes.
As a rule, hypochondriacs are excessively suspicious people, prone to exaggerate everything, emotionally unstable and sensitive. Such personality traits are usually inherited.
Hypochondriac prone to depression
Violation of body signal perception
Hypochondrias feel normal body reactions as pathological, for example, they perceive mild discomfort as pain. This may be due to abnormalities in the brain or peripheral nerves.
Such traumatic cases can be violence, severe illness, including diseases of early childhood. Especially if the parents are too worried about the health of the child.
The imprudent words of a doctor, and even aggressive advertising of a drug can give impetus to the development of hypochondria.
Hypochondria is often a sign of other mental disorders. So manifest themselves schizophrenia, severe depression.
Signs of Hypochondria
The hypochondriac is very worried about his own health and suspects serious illnesses in himself, despite the fact that they are not supported by research and analysis. Most often, a person believes that he has problems with his heart, stomach and intestines, genitals or brain, and he makes a diagnosis for himself. Often this diagnosis changes: today it is a tumor, tomorrow an ulcer.
Hypochondria always hurts.
The hypochondriac experiences body pains that have no objective reasons. Often, sensations that a healthy person will not notice are perceived by the hypochondriac as severe pain. Sometimes these pains are very unusual: twists, shoots, turns out.
The hypochondriac complains that he is stabbing here, numb here, and goosebumps crawling there.
Sometimes he feels discomfort in the body, not having a clear localization. He can hardly describe them as, for example, booze, burning, throbbing, bursting – these are the so-called senesthopathies. They are very worried about the patient and bring him true torment.
Hypochondria is characterized by visceral hallucinations, which consist in the fact that a person believes that living beings live in his body. These can be spiders, frogs or strange entities. He senses how they move in the stomach, under the skin, through the blood vessels.
The nature of the patient is changing: he becomes apathetic and depressed. He has depression, various fears: death, onset of cancer, AIDS, illness, unknown medicine.
The hypochondriac is completely focused on himself, his body sensations. Constantly checks his condition: measures the pulse, feels the body in search of a tumor, women check vaginal discharge, men – the process of urination.
The hypochondriac tries not to fall into situations that, in his opinion, can have a negative impact on health: they do not leave the house, because microbes there refuse physical activity so that a heart attack does not develop, etc.
Often people tend to treat themselves
The hypochondriac constantly visits doctors, undergoes research to confirm the diagnosis he made for himself. He studies the special literature, articles on the Internet. If a doctor tries to convince him that he does not have a disease that the hypochondriac suspects, he becomes angry, considers the doctor incompetent and begins to treat on his own.
It is not necessary that the patient has all the above signs and symptoms, especially since there are different forms of hypochondria.
Hypochondria in the form of an obsessive idea is a neurosis and is characteristic of people of a certain type of character: impressionable, easily suggestible, emotional. Sign – fear of getting sick, getting infected, poisoning. The main difference between obsessive hypochondria – a person maintains critical thinking. He understands that his fears are unfounded, tries to convince himself of this, but cannot cope with anxiety.
Such experiences, if they pass quickly, are not dangerous and do not require treatment.