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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10547
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I have had anxiety and more specifically health anxiety for

Customer Question

I have had anxiety and more specifically health anxiety for 20 years. All I take is xanax to calm me down when it gets really bad. Currently I'm worried that I have pancreatic cancer and my gastroenterologist does not believe I have that. I'm 40 years
old, white hispanic, and currently suffer from GERD/IBS as well as hypertension. I've been experiencing upper abdominal pain and nausea. This has overtaken my life the past month where I don't want to get out of bed because I'm afraid that I'm dying from this
horrible disease. I don't know what to do.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.
*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area.
Hello, I am so sorry that you are suffering from these symptoms of Health Anxiety or Hypochondriasis, I can understand how distressing this must be for you. typically Health Anxiety is a combination of an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a Somatic Disorder, so the best treatment is not going to be medication alone, and especially not Xanax alone. The reason for this is that the medication does not address all the issues related to Health Anxiety and also most medications cause side effects, and those are typically over-analyzed by someone with Health Anxiety and blown out of proportion to be worse than they actually are. So the best treatment would be to combine a therapy style of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP). These are the best type of therapy modalities to address your Health Anxiety internally to help you overcome this thought process that causes your worries. I would highly recommend that you go to a Psychologist or therapist that specializes in OCD and Somatoform disorders.
In addition, I mentioned that Xanax was not nearly enough to treat Health Anxiety and that is because Xanax only lessens anxiety (temporarily) it does not regulate the other neurotransmitters that cause the mixture of OCD and Somatoform symptoms. This is why you need to add a SSRI antidepressant (Luvox, Lexapro, or Zoloft are best), Effexor, or Anafranil (the first antidepressant used to treat OCD), as these medications will stop the obsessions and the somatic symptoms that you have been experiencing. Please ask your doctor, or preferably go see a psychiatrist, to discuss the addition of one of these antidepressants to your regimen.
I hope this answers your questions and gives you some guidance on this issue. I truly wish you all the best with your continued treatment and I hope that you will be able to overcome this Health Anxiety very soon. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I am happy to assist and support you regarding this issue.
*****Remember I only get compensated for my hard work through positive ratings, so I would truly appreciate it if you can take the time and provide me with a POSITIVE RATING using the smiley faces/stars. Thank you so much and it was my pleasure helping you with your issue.*****
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I noticed that you viewed my answer and I was checking in to see if you have any further questions or concerns that you would like me to address on this issue? *****Remember I only get compensated for my hard work through positive ratings, so I would truly appreciate it if you can take the time and provide me with a POSITIVE RATING using the smiley faces/stars. Thank you so much and it was my pleasure helping you with your issue.*****

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