If you, or someone you know, is a hypochondriac, you will be familiar with the frustrating condition that leads sufferers into thinking that the symptoms they have may be more sinister than they really are.
People frequently believe that the individual displaying hypochondriac symptoms does so for attention and a reaction from the people in their life. The truth is, however, the condition may have begun this way, but now it has turned into fear where the individual needs reassurance. Although individuals, and even some professionals, often do not know how to deal with someone like this, it does not have to be as complex as people imagine.
Behaviour to Avoid With Hypochondriacs
- People may become a hypochondriac because they lacked attention at some point, or due to the sympathy they received when they were ill. The symptoms become worse as the condition progresses, until it turns into a constant fear of becoming ill. If you know someone who frequently thinks about being ill when they appear fine, your actions could ease their stress or make it worse.
- The worst thing to do is confirm their suspicions by admitting they may have the condition they fear, as this could trigger a panic attack. However, you must not ignore them because they will consider you uncaring and unsupportive and question your relationship.
The Best Way to Support a Hypochondriac
- Hypochondrium is a real condition and your reactions can be vital to a sufferer. Whilst you cannot ignore them or act worried, you must display a neutral level of concern. It is important to listen to your friend and show empathy, because to them they are experiencing true symptoms.
- As a good friend, you will have heard their concerns and worries repeatedly, but your reaction will be as unique as those times as well. You can advise them to visit their Doctor if they are very worried, but be sure to tell them not to search the Internet to ease their concern. Conditions listed on the Internet often have a long list of symptoms, for example, where indigestion may be a symptom of stomach cancer, it is also what happens after eating greasy food. A hypochondriac will always think the worst, they find it very difficult to be rational and will need the support of their family and friends.