I am concerned about a loved one and our relationship. He has hypochondria. Recently it has been causing a lot of trouble and seems to have gotten much more severe. I honestly can say I don't know what to do to help. I try to be reassuring and help all I can, but I understand that nothing I say will help a hypochondriac. We've made numerous doctor's visits and even an emergency center visit (and I can say it was NOT AT ALL an emergency) and I feel that things did improve some, but I know very well it won't stay that way for long. He says he worries so much because he loves me and doesn't want me to be alone and have something happen to him, but how can I make him see that spending all he time worrying IS like losing him? I feel like I've lost him already to his hypochondria. For me, I just think that whatever happens, happens, so you just have to live your life well without regrets. You can't spend your time worrying. I have anxiety and know very well and worrying is a waste of time!
He also worries about his hair and worries that he is losing his hair. I don't care if hair falls out. It isn't a concern AT ALL to me. He worries that he won't be attractive and that I won't be attracted to him anymore. This isn't the case. He gets upset and we check his hair repeatedly every day. I tell him that he should just leave it alone because stress and touching it repeatedly CAN make it fall out. Of course this isn't going to help! If I say that I think it looks the same (which to the average person, we would all agree), he thinks I'm lying and doesn't believe me. Again, I feel like I'm losing him to this worry.
If anyone has any advice at all or opinions, I'd appreciate it so much. I'm not sure what is best for me to do in this situation to help. I've tried to talk to him about how I feel and he says I need to stop thinking about myself. I am sorry, but I don't put myself first anymore. I spend a lot of time talking to him about it, checking things for him, going to doctor visits and giving up sleep to stay at the ER for 6 hours in the evenings, I am sexually and emotionally frustrated and lonely. I don't talk about these things because I just want to be there for him and help him get through it. I don't want this to put a strain on our relationship.
Last edited by Love2Run9485; 05-30-2009 at 02:33 PM.
It is not really easy to deal with a hyponchondriac. It is usually a severe mental disorder. He needs nothing less than psychotherapy. If he refuses it, I would consider moving on. Anyway, rather than talking about his hypochondriasis, instigate him to do things with you, such as taking dancing lessons, travelling, joining a gym, voluntary work, etc. By not talking about these things you are already putting a strain on the relationship. Give him an ultimatum. Tell him that you want to enjoy life and feel useful in society before it is too late. If he doesn't want to follow you, you are doing it alone.
Thank you for your reply. After 6 great years without any trouble with this and now engagement, it's just now happening. I am trying to determine if there was something that happened that may have caused this. I know his dad is struggling with some health issues and my aunt recently had thyroid cancer (but she beat it!). I think that these issues may have caused him to worry now. It wasn't an issue at all before, or at least not a noticeable issue and was under control. I am not ready to walk away because I will be there for him 100%, but I will MAKE SURE that it isn't like this forever. If things don't improve, I will get others involved to ensure he sees a doctor and gets things better. I try to set a good example and be there for any questions, but also to make sure he stays in reality and isn't imagining things. Luckily I was able to describe the many symptoms of stress/anxiety and how they can commonly seem like something much worse!
I should think that many hipocondriacs are also egocentric, right? It would help him to realize that the worst illness is the one you imagine you have or are about to have. This makes life too predictable. Do you think he would reach an insight and improve if he were able to laugh this condition away? Here's a book that might prove interesting for him; it's old, but still quite effective: Three Men in a Boat.
Yes, I do think that may help! I will look into that book for sure. The good thing is that he very well KNOWS that his worries are in his head and that he has hypochondria and isn't denying it. Even though he is aware of having it, he struggles with it. We'll look into that book and will continue on with fun activities like spending with loved ones, working out together (we do this very often and he also likes to go play basketball for hours with friends), etc! We are also planning for a December wedding and enjoy looking forward to that big day and our Hawaii honeymoon that will follow.
Some people are hypochondriacs to varying degrees. Some worry about everything and fear the worst and it takes over their lives. Often that borders on Obessessive Compulsive disorder. I know a few hypochodriacs and used to be one myself. I still will "dabble" in the worst possible scenario when something happens but for the most part have grown out of it.
If this is controlling his life which it sounds like it is then he should seek a therapist and perhaps antidepressents which will help smooth over the obsessiveness and tone it down. The problem is exacerbated by the constant ruminating and obessessing.
Hi Cathy1, is there anything in particular that helped with your hypochondria, or did it just get better with time?
For some reason, things have been GREATLY improving just over the past week. Nothing really has changed, but I am not complaining! I'm so happy to see that things are going well and hope they continue to do so, but I am sure every hypochondriac has their good times and bad times.
We have talked about medication together as an option and he is only worried that he will have the same side effects I did when I took them. I didn't feel happy and just felt nothing and numb and exhausted all the time. I also had mild weight gain. I probably would have gained more than the 5 pounds or so I gained, but I worked out and was on a strict diet to prevent gaining weight. We'll keep trying natual ways to deal with worries, like going running together, and see how that helps over the long run. If things don't continue to get better, we will look into counseling or medication.
Sometimes I feel that if we stay pretty busy, it doesn't give you that extra time to be worrying. When work is busy and there is also a lot going on after work, it helps. I try to keep lots of fun plans for us and a positive attitude. We love funny movies and good books so we get plenty of those!
Hypochondria can go in waves. For me, I grew out of it when something did happen to me medically that I had to deal with. For some reason all the worrying about things that weren't really wrong with me went into perspective and since then I only worry about what is real that I need to deal with.
Antidepressents work on everyone differently. You may gain weight and another person won't have an appetite. Some feel "flat" with no affect and others feel focused for the very first time. Also - there are many antideps out there where one can work great and the other doesn't. It can be trial and error.