Worried Sick? the Exaggerated Fear of Physical Illness

by | Jan 1, 2009 | Book Reviews

We live in worrisome times. Perhaps chief among these worries is a concern about health. Newly discovered diseases, ranging from Legionnaires’ disease and Lyme disease all the way to AIDS, are reported regularly in the press. At the same time, expensive new technological devices, such as the CAT scan or the PET scan, are trumpeted urgently as ways of diagnosing and warding off otherwise hidden but possibly fatal conditions. New medical treatments, and alternative medical treatments, are advertised on television. It is no wonder that people focus on their health. And in the face of a prolonged or obscure illness, everyone becomes a health worrier. Nevertheless, some people worry all the time. Experiencing any kind of physical symptom, they imagine the worst possible illness. And they tend to express emotional distress by developing physical symptoms. These men and women are suffering from health anxiety. Their fears are unrealistic, but not entirely irrational. They are an outgrowth of certain common childhood experiences. Taken together, they reflect a set of mistaken ideas: about the nature of physical illness. about diet and sleep and bodily functions. about doctors and the way they think. about drugs and their side-effects. about physical examinations and laboratory tests. and about dying and death itself. Health anxiety is a distressing and debilitating condition and untreated continues on for years, worsening again every time the affected person becomes slightly ill. An innovative program of treatment begun in 1996 by the Anxiety and Phobia Center of White Plains Hospital has been tested overtime and found to relieve this otherwise chronic condition. This book and its companion, Worried Sick? The Workbook, explain the principles of the cognitive-behavioral treatment of health anxiety and give detailed direction on how to implement such a program. In addition, specific information is given correcting the various misconceptions of the health worrier. Experience has shown that health worriers willing to follow the explicit instructions in these books will experience considerable and long-lasting relief of their health anxiety.

Purchase Worried Sick? here…