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Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3707
Experience:  35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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Question about mind-body connection from hypochondriac.

This answer was rated:

question about mind-body connection from hypochondriac.

Hello, what is your question?
Hello- Thank you for asking the question. I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families & am happy to reply.

I am happy to answer your question.

Hypochondrias is a somatic disorder in which there is an exaggerated amplification of concern related to perception (what is viewed) and cognition(what is thought). Therefore there can be obsessive thinking as related to physical ailment's - an over-exaggeration between what one sees and how the think about it.

Hypochondriasis is classified as a somatoform disorder and is treatable with Medications in the SSRI CLASS (most often Prozac or Paxil) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Stategies.

In therapy, the worrier is helped to address and cope with bothersome physical symptoms and illness worries and is found helpful in reducing the intensity and frequency of troubling bodily symptoms. SSRIs can reduce obsessive worry through adjusting neurotransmitter levels and have been shown to be effective as treatments for anxiety and depression as well as for hypochondriasis.

Additional detailed information can be found here:

I trust this serves to answer your original question.

Should you have follow up- please feel fre to ask- I am happy to help.

Otherwise, I appreciate your positive Rating so that I receive credi for my time.

Kindest regrards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I've been suffering terribly from health anxiety for the last couple of years. Currently, my fears are of neurological disease, as I've had some left shoulder weakness. I'm told it is a rotator cuff injury, and I've gone so far as to have neurological testing completed (which was normal), but am still so concerned, and cannot seem to get off of it.

The professional evaluation of my shoulder weakness is "mild", or 4.5/5, but there are times where I feel it difficult to even just lift a glass. Obviously, there seems to be a disconnect. What i'm wondering is, is the mind powerful enough to make me feel that my shoulder is much weaker than it objectively is?

I am sorry to hear about your shoulder concern.

The simple answer is YES- but it is possible for people like yourself to have real pain associated with issues such as you describe.

Consider addressing this with a Physical Therapist and be totally honest about your history of hypochondriasis. They can do range of motion testing and other techinques to further assess this.

Kindest regards, Bill
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Already done that. His evaluation was also that I have a rotator cuff issue going on, and that the strength difference was mild. And yes, he knows about my health anxiety and is really trying very hard to reassure me, but to no avail.

It just didn't make much sense to me that on one hand, I'm being told the issue is mild in nature, but my own perception is that it's far from mild. That's where there is the disconnect.

I'm really, really struggling right now, and so afraid - both of actually having something awful wrong, or if not, always being held prisoner by this condition. I simply am at the end of my rope, and don't know what to do.

I've tried CBT, which didn't seem to work, and I've tried Lexapro. The problem with medication for health anxiety, is that the side effects often cause us to spiral further into the abyss.

From your professional experience, do you find anything else particularly helpful in treating this disorder?

I understand- Prozac and Paxil usually work best with this disorder.
I know it is difficult- stay in therapy and keep working on it. YOU CAN GET BETTER!
Best, Bill
Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3707
Experience: 35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
Bill and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you and have the best possible day.