people with hypochondriasis believe that real or imagined physical symptoms are signs of serious illnesses, despite medical reassurance and other evidence to the contrary. symptoms of the disorder include a preoccupation with fear of an illness; a persistent fear of having a serious illness, despite medical reassurance; and misinterpretation of symptoms. cognitive behavioral therapy (cbt) and the antidepressant drug fluoxetine (flx) have both been shown to be effective treatments for hypochondriasis. this study will compare the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy, antidepressant medication, and a combination of the two for treating hypochondriasis.
eligible individuals will then be randomly assigned to receive one of the following four treatments for 12 weeks: cbt only; flx only; cbt plus flx; or a placebo pill. treatment response will be assessed at week 12, and participants who have shown improvement will continue in the study for an additional 12 weeks. participants who have not responded to treatment will be removed from the study and will receive open treatment. participants assigned to cbt only or cbt plus flx will receive cbt weekly for the first 8 weeks, then biweekly until week 12, and then monthly until week 24. outcomes will be assessed at study visits at weeks 6, 12, 24, and 48, and over the phone at week 36. choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. to learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below.
while the diagnosis of hypochondria has been split into somatic symptom disorder and illness anxiety disorder in the dsm-5, it still often means obsessive worry about sickness and sometimes, medically unexplained symptoms. working with a mental health professional can help people identify and build coping mechanisms that reduce symptoms and address any underlying issues that contribute the anxiety and somatic symptoms. some people with health anxiety avoid medical treatment, and many of the behaviors associated with this avoidance can superficially manifest as hypochondria. if there are co-occurring physical or mental health issues, such as ocd, depression, diabetes, or cancer, a treatment plan should accommodate these conditions. in addition to the types of therapy listed above, individual or talk therapy can be a helpful first step that allows people with hypochondria to address their health anxiety in a safe, validating space and be referred to medical treatment if physical health is the root concern.
although seeing a therapist and/or doctor can be key when addressing hypochondria, individuals with a somatic symptom disorder diagnosis and those with troubling thoughts about disease may find these research-based tips helpful. while dealing with hypochondria isn’t always a simple matter of banishing distracting or unhelpful thoughts, it is possible to overcome. cognitive behavioral therapy for health anxiety: harriet has always been very careful about her health and does not have a family history of serious medical issues. doctors have assured her she does not have arthritis, but she continues to be consumed by the thought and sees other medical professionals. after a psychiatrist assigns a diagnosis of illness anxiety, harriet works with a psychotherapist to identify the sources and factors contributing to her anxiety. she gradually begins to notice patterns of significant stress–a daunting project at work, a visit from her sister, or her best friend’s wedding–precipitating her pain and many medical visits.
antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (ssris), may help treat illness anxiety disorder. medications to treat mood or hypochondria is hard to treat, but experts have made progress. several studies show that using antidepressants, such as prozac and luvox, cognitive behavioral therapy (cbt) and the antidepressant drug fluoxetine (flx) have both been shown to be effective treatments for hypochondriasis., hypochondriasis treatment guidelines, hypochondriasis treatment guidelines, hypochondria treatment medication, hypochondriac test, best ssri for hypochondria.
it is possible to overcome health anxiety, also known as hypochondria. treatment for hypochondria can include cognitive behavioral therapy antidepressants to help you feel less anxious and/or depressed. cognitive behavioral therapy (cbt) to talk through your fears and anxieties and in this type of therapy, the person learns to recognize and understand the false beliefs that set off their anxiety. research has shown that cbt, extreme cases of hypochondria, exposure therapy for hypochondriasis, what not to say to a hypochondriac, illness anxiety disorder.
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