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Michael Jones, LMFT
Michael Jones, LMFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 105
Experience:  Over 12 years experience as a therapist, both inpatient and outpatient. APA Board Certified.
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Hi there, Ive got a question on behalf of my boyfriend. My

Customer Question

Hi there, I've got a question on behalf of my boyfriend. My boyfriend has a SEVERE case of hypochondria. It's so bad that:

(1) when he has a health problem, he automatically thinks of the worst scenario (cancer, surgery, etc.) and poisons himself over and over again with the worst things,

(2) when he hears or reads about a medical problem, he automatically thinks he has the problem and ACTUALLY feels the pains (he knows that his mind is doing this), and

(3) he cannot get blood tests through the arm. He will actually have a seizure when they doctor tries to do this - I have seen this and it's very scary. He can get the blood through the hand though.

He has had a very traumatic childhood including a hypochondriac mother and many, many, many visits to the doctors (probably most of them unnecessary). He has tried all sorts of therapy but there is no change.

Anything you can suggest?

Thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Michael Jones, LMFT replied 3 years ago.

Michael Jones, LMFT :

Hello, my name isXXXXX and I'm a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. I believe I can answer your question. May I first get some more information before formulating my answer?

Customer:

Sure, go ahead

Michael Jones, LMFT :

You say he has been in mant types of therapy. Do you know what types of therapy he has been through?

Customer:

I think he has only been in like one-on-one therapy/counseling - he's been going for years. His older brother also has the same condition.

Michael Jones, LMFT :

Has he ever been treated with medications for this?

Customer:

Oh yes, he is on Paxil and he has adovan (<- I know that I am spelling this)

Customer:

But it does not help him. He says that it just makes him tired. His doctors don't listen to him - they just want to have him take more meds. When he takes 20g of Paxil he sleeps for the whole day!

Michael Jones, LMFT :

Thank you. I will post my answer in just a few minutes.

Customer:

Thank you.

Michael Jones, LMFT :

I suspect that your boyfriend has been engaging in traditional talk therapy, which will not be very helpful to his condition.
The treatments of choice for hypochondriasis are a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy, stress management and medication.


The most effective treatment for anxiety disorders is cognitive-behavioral (CBT) psychotherapy. Alone or combined with medication it has a roughly 80% success rate in the literature. The counselor your boyfriend has been seeing may or may not be trained and experienced in providing cognitive-behavioral therapy. If he or she isn't, your boyfriend may be feeling the sessions are useless as they are "just talking" and he's not getting tools and techniques to deal with his condition now. In CBT, he would be getting tools to use immediately to reduce the symptoms of hypochondriasis. If his counselor is not a CBT therapist, he needs to find one who practices it as soon as possible.
Stress management plays a vital role in the treatment of hypochondriasis as well. As one's stressors increase or remain at a consistently high level, the ruminations of hypochondriasis grow. Learning skills to manage daily stress is essential to managing his symptoms. And again, a cognitive-behavioral therapist can offer this training.
SSRI medications are considered effective psychotropic medications for hypochondriasis. Paxil is an SSRI, but it seems clear from your report that this isn't helping. He needs to be seeing a psychiatrist for medications, if he isn't already.


Psychiatrists are specially trained to understand the various combinations of medications that would be most helpful to him. In any event, he clearly needs to see a psychiatrist and if his current physician isn't listening to him, he needs to find another.


Have I answered your question?


 

Customer:

That's very useful information. I know that he does see a psychiatrist but I am not sure about the other part with the CBT psychotherapy. I will pass this info onto him. Thank you for your time.

Michael Jones, LMFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 105
Experience: Over 12 years experience as a therapist, both inpatient and outpatient. APA Board Certified.
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Michael Jones, LMFT
Michael Jones, LMFT
Psychotherapist
105 Satisfied Customers
Over 12 years experience as a therapist, both inpatient and outpatient. APA Board Certified.