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Recent studies show that mental health problems have increased exponentially during the covid-19 pandemic, anxiety and depression in particular. There has been a lot of discussion on anxiety, but this article will focus on a particular type called Illness Anxiety Disorder. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression and need to talk to a healthcare professional, find doctors online in Pakistan by downloading an online doctor app on your smartphone.

What is an anxiety disorder?

An anxiety disorders is a serious mental illness that causes excessive worry or irrational fear for long periods of time. These feelings tend to linger and may even get worse over time. Feeling anxious at times is completely normal, but with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety can project negatively and impact a person's quality of life.

Do you have negative thoughts most of the time? Do you feel worried or sad almost everyday? Are these thoughts affecting your ability to function normally in life? You might want to talk to a doctor. Find doctors online in Pakistan and get medical advice or therapy online from the convenience of your home.

What is Illness anxiety disorder?

Illness anxiety disorder, (previously known as hypochondria or hypochondriasis) is a mental health condition in which an individual is driven by the fear of having or developing a serious medical illness. Individuals with this condition may or may not have received a formal diagnosis of a medical condition. More than often, there is an absence of serious disease. However, if a medical condition is present, the person displays excessive anxiety around the illness.

Somatic symptom disorder

Individuals who would have previously been diagnosed with hypochondriasis now receive a diagnosis of illness anxiety disorder or somatic symptom disorder. Somatic symptoms are symptoms that the patient may be experiencing but cannot be explained my medically or psychologically. Illness anxiety disorder and somatic symptom disorder are often used interchangeably.

Seeking help is the first step towards improvement. Download an online doctor app on your smartphone an instantly find doctors online in Pakistan. Talk to mental health professionals from the safety of your own home.

What are the symptoms of IAD?

An individual with illness anxiety disorder is fixated on the possibility of being ill. The patient is preoccupied with thoughts of becoming ill or a heightened sensitivity to normal body functions or mild physical complaints.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Avoiding socialization based on fear of contracting an illness
  • Constantly googling symptoms and health conditions
  • Constantly talking about health problems
  • Excessive distress that impairs normal functioning
  • Fear that physical sensations are caused by a serious medical condition
  • Obsession of current health status
  • Increased sensitivity to minor symptoms such as headaches, joint pain, or sweating
  • Making doctor's appointments to check up on mild symptoms or normal body functions
  • Significant distress over the possibility of being sick

If you can relate to any of the above symptoms, then contact a healthcare provider and discuss your feelings with them. A quick and convenient way to find doctors online in Pakistan is with an online doctor app. Book an online doctor’s appointment at a time of your convenience.

How do you diagnose IAD?

Illness anxiety disorder is often diagnosed after clinical examinations and lab tests come back with results, but the person remains preoccupied and anxious about an underlying health condition.    A characteristic sign of IAD is that a patient with this condition is not convinced by normal exam or lab results and, as a result, may dismiss their doctor's findings and seek another doctor.

Here are some essential diagnosing points:

  • Excessive anxiety about a serious or life-threatening illness
  • Mild or no somatic symptoms
  • Frequent checking for illness or indications of disease

Expert explain that these symptoms must be present for at least six months and must not be better explained by another psychiatric condition.

If you consider yourself to fall in this category then it might be a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional before things get worse. An effective way to get help at home is by booking an online doctor’s appointment with an online doctor app. Find doctors online in Pakistan easily with a few simple clicks.

What causes illness anxiety disorder?

The exact cause of illness anxiety disorder is not clear, but research shows that there are several contributing factors that increase the likelihood of developing this condition. Some of the common factors include:

  • A history of childhood illness
  • Pre-existing mental health condition such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or major depressive disorder
  • A history of trauma, abuse, or neglect during childhood
  • A serious symptom that is a threat to health
  • Stress
  • When a normal body sensation causes discomfort and anxiety

If you have one or more of the above risk factors, mention them to your doctor. This will help your care provider map out a treatment plan that works for you. Find doctors online in Pakistan and discuss different treatment options.

How do you treat Illness anxiety disorder?

Research suggests that IAD can be treated effectively. Treatment of any medical or psychiatric condition  depends on the nature and severity of the condition, as well as any co-existing risk factors like other mental health conditions.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is the go-to treatment for most psychiatric conditions. There are different types of psychotherapy that can be useful for treating illness anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for instance, helps patients manage anxiety. They learn how to control the fear which results in symptom improvement.

Medications

Your doctor may prescribe certain medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are effective in treating illness anxiety disorder.? These drugs are more commonly known as antidepressants and work by affecting the levels of serotonin in the brain.

Research shows that a combination of both medication and therapy is the most effective at treating anxiety disorders effectively. For more information on different treatment options, find doctors online in Pakistan and get first-hand authentic information from home.

Self-help techniques

In addition to professional treatment there are numerous self-help strategies that people might find helpful for reducing feelings of illness anxiety disorder:

  • Manage stress levels. Stress is a major contributor of illness anxiety. You can try deep breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and progressive muscle relaxation for relieving stress.
  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique that focuses on self-awareness and centers on the present moment. It may help you acknowledge the normal sensations you feel so that they feel more normal and less serious.
  • Avoid unhelpful information. It is important to stay away from information overload which can result from constantly searching the internet about symptoms and disease.

For authentic and useful information from qualified and trained healthcare professionals, download the Mylivedoctors app on your smartphone and find doctors online in Pakistan today!