In some cases, unexplained physical discomfort could be a sign of unresolved emotional problems.
Last update: June 27, 2022
Physical health greatly affects the quality of life, which is why it is advisable to undergo frequent checks. However, always thinking of being sick is certainly not positive. If so, there is most likely no physiological explanation for the accused malaise and other medical advice will be sought.
Believing that you are at risk of illness or that you always have some disorder is a possible sign of psychological disturbance. In these cases, several alternatives can be considered.
Always thinking that you are sick and not knowing why
The human species is very vulnerable, so it is normal to have your health at heart to some extent and to maintain healthy habits such as exercise or a healthy diet.
However, there are people who develop an abnormal concern for their health, which can have several causes. In these cases, obsessing over health interferes with quality of life.
People stop socializing for fear of contracting a dangerous disease, even when it is unlikely. Similarly, problems arise at work, in relationships and, in general, in all areas of life.
Thinking all the time that you are sick causes fear and anguish, which become part of everyday life. In the long run, the constant state of stress can have serious repercussions. But what is the cause of this concern?
Delusional disorder is a psychological disorder characterized by the presence of one or more delusional beliefs. By "delirium" we mean an altered idea about the way one perceives the world and oneself. This perception cannot be changed, even when evidence to the contrary is presented.
Within this group, several subtypes are distinguished, including hypochondriac delirium. Sufferers have the delusional belief that they have a serious problem. The person often undergoes medical tests and although no problems emerge, she remains convinced of her illness. In some cases, you agree to be hospitalized or subjected to invasive tests.
On the other hand, thanks to the easy access to information offered by the internet, the hypochondriac person tend to seek diagnoses online. A study by Eichenberg and Schott (2019) showed that people with hypochondria often use the internet to search for information about their health. They also consider alternatives, such as buying over-the-counter medications online, and change doctors frequently.
Thinking all the time that you are sick can be caused by illness anxiety. The person who suffers from it feels excessive and disproportionate concern for his own health.
He believes he is at high risk of contracting a serious illness or already having it. In this way he develops various behaviors such as constantly checking the body and avoiding visits to the doctor.
Illness anxiety also occurs without physical symptoms which could be a warning sign. In the presence of real symptoms, these are usually mild, so the patient's concern is disproportionate.
Unlike individuals with hypochondriac delirium, delusional behavior is not observed in this case. The person may consider the possibility of not being sick and his worries are more appropriate.
The belief that you are always sick could be related to partial or total unconscious emotional distress. Evidence indicates that depressed patients often report physical distress.
Depression is hidden under various symptoms, of which pain is one of the most common. In these cases, it can be difficult to correctly diagnose depressive disorder (Artiles & López, 2009).
Always thinking about being sick, what to do?
When physical health concerns begin to affect quality of life, it's time to take action. The ideal is to contact a psychologist, psychiatrist or psychotherapist who can assess the situation and make a diagnosis.
Thereafter, there are several options depending on the problem. In the case of hypochondriacal symptoms, acceptance and commitment therapy may be a good alternative. Iri et al. (2019) published an article on the effects of such therapy in divorced women with hypochondria. The results show that it reduces the symptoms of hypochondria and improves emotional management.
If it is a depressive picture, the intervention will depend on the severity. In major episodes, antidepressants are recommended to improve mood in combination with psychotherapy. In mild episodes, however, psychological therapy may be sufficient.
Just as it is important to take care of physical health, it is also important to take care of the emotions. If you always think you are sick, consulting a specialist is a good idea.
Don't forget that emotional distress can be just as or even more disabling of an organic disease.