What to do if you have hypochondria

Hypochondria, or the fear of serious illness, is one of the most derided psychological disorders that people can have. Hypochondriacs are often seen as posers. Yet it is a serious disorder that, if left untreated, can cause many problems, both for the person who has hypochondria and for those around him. This article looks at what hypochondria is and what someone with hypochondria can do to feel better.

What exactly is hypochondria?

Hypochondria is an excessive, morbid fear of disease. Hypochondria is often misunderstood and seen as an affectation, but nothing could be further from the truth. Hypochondria is a serious psychological condition that can only be controlled with (professional) help. People with hypochondria can often clearly indicate which disease they think they have and which symptoms prove this, even though medical research shows nothing. Hypochondriasis, also called fear of illness, is divided into somatoform disorders, which means that the hypochondriac actually has physical complaints that seem to have no demonstrable cause. This ensures that a hypochondriac can actually be “sick”, without having a disease. Hypochondria occurs in all age groups and about as often in men as women.
People with hypochondria are very concerned with controlling their body. In addition, they often have a very high stress level, which can cause even more complaints.

The vicious circle that a hypochondriac finds itself in

Karel is a hypochondriac, he has been afraid for some time that he has skin cancer. This is because he has a spot on his arm. Karel then goes to the doctor. This indicates that the spot on his arm is an innocent birthmark and that he does not have to worry. This reassures Karel somewhat, but once he gets home he starts to have doubts again. He decides to search the internet for more information. This convinces him that the doctor was wrong and Karel is back to square one.
It sounds strange, but even though a hypochondriac often goes to the doctor with his or her complaints, they usually question the doctor’s opinion.

What should you do if you think you have Hypochondria?

  • Discuss it with your doctor, who can see whether you can indeed speak of an excessive fear of diseases or not. In addition, the GP can refer you to a psychologist if desired.
  • Go to a good psychologist. Only this can really give you the right professional help you need.
  • If your fears have caused severe stress, a doctor may suggest taking certain medications. These medications suppress anxiety and can provide a lot of peace of mind. Please note, however, that this is only a means to combat anxiety and stress, but that it does not address the core. Always combine the use of these substances with treatment with a psychologist.

These are the most important steps you need to take. In addition, there is a lot you can do yourself to feel better.

  • Improve your diet. Avoid fast food and eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Not only is this healthy, it can also make you less anxious.
  • Go exercise. Although a hypochondriac is often afraid that exercise is bad for him because of the illness he thinks he has, nothing is as good for psychological balance as exercise. It is also called the “natural anti-depressant”.
  • Relax. This can be done in a huge number of ways. Maybe you like meditation, maybe you prefer taking a warm bath. As long as it relaxes you and takes your mind off your fears, it’s fine.

can have quite positive results . Here are some relaxation exercises.


Often underestimated, but a large part of the population breathes the “wrong” way. By breathing properly, your breathing is deeper and provides a more relaxing feeling. It is important that you learn so-called abdominal breathing. To check whether you are abdominal breathing or chest breathing, do the following:

  • Lie on your back
  • Place one hand on the chest and one hand on the stomach
  • Now breathe calmly
  • When the hand on your chest rises more than the hand on your stomach, you are breathing through the chest

By imagining that you are breathing through your navel instead of through your mouth, you can practice belly breathing. It is important that your chest hardly rises and your stomach rises a lot.


Always seen as rather vague. Yet recent research has shown that regular meditation is very good for your health.

  • Sit or lie down somewhere quietly, provide a quiet environment with as few distractions as possible.
  • Close your eyes and breathe calmly, you don’t have to breathe especially slowly, just let your breathing take its course.
  • Imagine that with each exhalation your body relaxes more and more.
  • When a thought comes to mind, notice it and let it go. Return your attention to your breathing.
  • Continue this for about twenty minutes to half an hour.



Nothing is as relaxing as sitting in a comfortable chair and listening to nice, calm music. Bach’s Air and Handel’s Water Music are always regarded as some of the most relaxing songs ever. But of course you may not be a fan of classical music, you don’t have to force yourself to listen to classical music, relaxing songs can be found in almost every style of music.

  • Drum & Bass fan? Then try Circles by Adam F
  • Jazz fan? Then try Charlie Parker’s Summertime
  • Blues fan? Then try Muddy Water’s I feel like going home

There is a quiet song for almost every style of music. Of course there are also exceptions, Punk, Gabber, Hardcore, are all music styles that are not very suitable for this. Then find quiet music that you like and that you can sit quietly with every now and then.

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