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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4831
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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i need strategies to deal with high health OKMH109100

Customer Question

i need strategies to deal with high health anxiety pls!

Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 10 months ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your problem.

Whenever you worry about your own health, it can be a way to try to control circumstances that feel out of control. Worrying makes you feel as if you are doing something rather that just accepting the situation is out of your control. It also helps to suppress other negative emotions and gives you something to focus on instead. When you try to stop worrying, the negative emotions come back, making you feel worse.

Worrying about your health is a way to try to control the uncontrollable. Most people find it easy to worry about their health because it is something most people cannot control. You can do all the right things and still get sick. Therefore, fear of getting sick is common.

In order to deal with your anxiety and worry, you can use some of these strategies:

One, create a time of the day when you worry. Make it a time when you are not busy with other things. First thing in the morning works for many people because this is the time when worry seems the most intense, before we have had a chance to feel in control of our day. Let yourself worry for a certain amount of time then let go.

Two, when letting go of worry, it helps to tell yourself that you already worried about the situation. Write it down, verbally tell yourself or just say it over and over in your mind. You can reinforce the idea of letting go that way.

Three, write down what you are worried about. By putting it on paper, you can express it and get it out of your mind. Return to it during your worry time to review it.

Four, talk to friends, family or a therapist to help you express your worry. Talking to others and bringing out your feelings can help you see that sharing reduces your fear. And the reassurance of others can help as well.

Practice relaxing. The more you practice, the easier it will be to get yourself to calm down if you do worry. Here is a guide to help you practice:

http://www.guidetopsychology.com/pmr.htm

Also try exercise. It helps to increase your endorphins which are "feel good" brain chemicals. This can help you counteract the effects of worry and also helps you relax when you need to. And it is a positive step to improve your health as well.

Also, here are some resources for anxiety. They can help you find more ways to cope with your fears:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm

http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders

Coping with Anxiety: 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear & Worry by Edmund J. Bourne and Lorna Garano

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5454
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.

Hello, I am so sorry that you are experiencing this health anxiety issues. I would like to offer a different solution then what the previous expert wrote, but I would like to mention that I do not care who you pay for this information I just want to provide you with best and most complete information that will help you with your anxiety.

 

I believe the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help produce a more long-term solution to your anxiety issues. CBT therapy is the most evidence based therapy currently that has been proven to successfully treat anxiety for a long period of time. The previous only mentioned short term solutions of relaxation that are like band-aids to this problem, but not a solution or a sustained treatment. CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective as well, then your symptoms will lessen.

 

So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help you keep track of any negative thoughts you have. You put the trigger for your health anxiety, the emotion intensity and the intensity of the negative thought associated with that health anxiety trigger. Then you put down how you responded (e.g. panic attack, obsessive compulsive behavior, etc…), what would be an alternative and more rational response to this health anxiety trigger. And then you re-rate your original negative belief.

 

http://media.psychologytools.org/Worksheets/English/Health_Anxiety_Thought_Record.pdf

 

Also this worksheet can help you focus on different theories for you health anxiety to help provide you with a more objective view point.

 

http://media.psychologytools.org/Worksheets/English/TheoryA_TheoryB.pdf

 

In addition, these two worksheets are very good at helping lessen anxiety symptoms. It can help you focus on the big picture and the objective/positive thoughts and outcomes.

 

http://media.psychologytools.org/Worksheets/English/Decatastrophising.pdf

 

http://media.psychologytools.org/Worksheets/English/What_If.pdf

 

Also individuals with severe anxiety have a poor coping mechanism, so this worksheet will help you develop a better coping strategy to manage your symptoms better.

 

http://media.psychologytools.org/Worksheets/English/TRAP_TRAC.pdf

 

These two books are also really effective in helping manage anxiety as well.

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Anxiety-Worry-Workbook-Behavioral/dp/160623 918X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1378939072&sr=8-2&keywords=cbt+anxiety

 

http://www.amazon.com/Cognitive-Behavioral-Workbook-Anxiety-Step-/dp/1572245727/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378939064&sr=8-1&keywords=cbt+anxiety

 

This link can provide you with a technique for something called Progressive Muscle Relaxation that can help you create a long term calm by using muscle tension and release techniques; it can help manage your anxiety and is very similar to a style of meditation.

 

http://prtl.uhcl.edu/portal/page/portal/COS/Self_Help_and_Handouts/Files_and_Documents/Progressive%20Muscle%20Relaxation.pdf

 

I hope this provides with some guidance on where to start to help manage your anxiety. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at anytime.

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4831
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 10 months ago.
Thank you very much for the positive rating! I appreciate it.

My best to you,
Kate

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