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Home / Advice / Anxiety / Hypochondria during the COVID-19 pandemic

Hypochondria during the COVID-19 pandemic

By: Shauna Gavin

Updated: 06 May 2020

Hypochondria during the COVID-19 pandemic

If anyone has ever suffered with hypochondria, they'll be familiar with the constant nagging feeling that something in our body has turned against us and wants us dead. The proper medical name for hypochondria now is actually illness anxiety disorder. The anxiety felt from hypochondria can be so strong that it has been known to cause physical symptoms out of nowhere, caused simply from your mind. Living with hypochondria can be difficult enough normally but given the current COVID-19 pandemic that we are all learning to exist in, those with hypochondria will be on red alert. Here are some ways you can help regulate your hypochondria during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the actual symptoms of COVID-19?

One thing that may help to give your anxious brain some clarity is knowing what exactly it is we are up against with COVID-19. WHO tells us that the symptoms of COVID-19 are “tiredness, dry cough, shortness of breath, aches and pains, sore throat and very few people will report diarrhoea, nausea or a runny nose”. The main standout symptom of COVID-19 is the shortness of breath which does render many including asthmatics and those on medication in at risk categories. Determining whether or not you fall into an at risk category is important for managing your anxiety around the virus. If you do fall into one of the at risk categories, wearing face masks and gloves in public is essential.

Recognise the outside world and not yourself as the biggest risk

If you struggle with hypochondria, the COVID-19 outbreak will be understandably triggering for you. One way to help with managing these fears is to acknowledge that you are doing your best to prevent the virus by practicing social distancing, proper handwashing and all the measures we have been advised to do. Anxiety stems from lack of control and if you cannot stop yourself from worrying that you may have contracted Coronavirus, focus your anxieties to the outside world. We cannot control how well others protect themselves and others in public but we can control how much we protect ourselves. Hopefully, by compartmentalising your worry of the virus to outside your home, this will allow you to feel slightly less anxious while in quarantine.

Order shopping to your house if you need to

Quarantining yourself is the most effective way of preventing the transmission of COVID-19. If your anxiety around catching the virus is very severe and continues to persist, remember that there are options to have your shopping delivered. Large supermarkets like Tesco offer a delivery service and services like Buymie also will deliver shopping for you. If you can get a friend or relative to help you by doing shopping for you, reach out to them. Many people are willing to help others during a time of crisis.

If your anxiety persists, online counselling is still an option

While the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly a crisis that merits worry and anxiety, if you are worrying to the point where you have yourself convinced you have it, this may be hypochondria getting the best of you. If your anxiety is becoming irrational and physically detrimental to you, you might need to talk to a therapist about your fears. MyMind are offering online therapy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will be able to match you with a suitable therapist for your anxieties.



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