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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Hi, I am having a really hard time and have been having

Resolved Question:

Hi,

I am having a really hard time and have been having one for over a year now. I see a therapist every week and am also a recovering (1 and a half almost) alcoholic and addict. What I have been having a very hard time with is anxiety, specifically, my health anxiety. I have, over the last year and on a daily basis, obsessed with having some sort of cancer. Be it lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer, bone cancer... basically, you name it, I THINK I have it.
About a year ago, I had some odd things happening in the bathroom and I went to the doctor. Because of those changes, the doctor sent me to get a CT scan. They found nothing... but a small non-specific, non-calcified nodule on my left lung somewhere... 2.5 mm... so - the doctor told me it was nothing to worry about.... then about a week later, I was short of breath, my chest started to hurt and my jaw hurt... I went to the hospital and was hospitalized for three days. They found nothing wrong with my heart, ran every test imaginable and did a sono-gram on my abdominal organs. They found nothing.
After the hospital visit, my anxiety was better - I felt better and sadly I felt vindicated because people felt sorry for me. I hated that.
So, fast forward through november/december... for the last four or five months, daily, I have extremely high anxiety - pains in my body that arent 'normal' I automatically assume is something horrible and no matter what I do, I can not get it out of my head. The best times are when I sleep and I find myself not wanting to get up but when I do, I feel better when I am working and my mind is not able to wonder into that place.
So, going back to the non-calcified nodule on my lung, I was SURE it had grown large enough to hurt me, I was short of breath and I definetly had lung cancer... then I ran about 2 miles to see if thats what it was and I was fine. Better actually.
I constantly check my stool (just look, dont touch) and it has gotten to the point where now my pee has bubbles and I think my kidneys are failing or because I drank so much I have liver cancer... I think its important to say too that I was diagnosed with IBS... this is a horrible syndrome... it feeds off of itself, anxiety makes everything hurt and that increases my anxiety... the cycle ONLY stops when I sleep...
I am so tired of this, I am ruining my life, this obsession is truly ruining everything... controlling everything and I cant seem to find a way out. I take welbutrin and have talked to my PCP about this, talked to my therapist... nothing helps. My wife is tired of hearing about it, my kids want their dad back and I just dont want to live like this anymore. Im not going to hurt myself, I just want to know what is wrong with me...
I realize you cannot make it magically go away, but, I dont know what to do anymore. I am intelligent, I know there is nothing wrong with me - or want to believe it, but the idea just keeps popping into my head that there is something really wrong with me.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 4 years ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that I can help you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It seems that you have a somatoform disorder officially called hypochondriasis (or health phobia or health anxiety).

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This means that you believe that you have or suffer from several disorders, which when tested, prove negative.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This is very similar to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) except in the latter you worry obsessively about getting the disorder or passing it on to someone else..

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

They are similar and can be treated similarly, with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or exposure therapy and also with medications (such as paroxetine/Paxil or fluoxetine/Prozac).

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If your current therapist is not treating you with CBT and/or exposure therapy, or is not succeeding in stopping this behavior, then you might consider finding one who is more effective for you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Also, speak to your doctor about starting a low dose of one of those two medications that I recommended, or tricyclic antidepressants such as clomipramine (Anafranil) and imipramine.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I wish you great success in getting a handle on a this disorder.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I shall keep you in my prayers.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Warm regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC

Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you Elliot for the information, I have been told that I most likely have hypochondria... my therapist has and still is focusing on my alcoholism. I am sure she has a reason, probably because I am just prone to anxiety.

Thanks for your kind words.