by Ken Goodman, LCSW

Join ADAA member Ken Goodman, LCSW for a LIVE webinar on December 7 -  Health Anxiety Part 2: Learn How to Face Your Fear of Death and Overcome Health Anxiety

The illness you fear might not be the illness you have. I recently conducted an online support group for people with all sorts of health fears, from cancer and heart disease to ALS and MS. Each shared their worries about moles on the skin, irregular heart palpitations, and numbness and tingling. Although their specific fears varied, they all had one thing in common; none of them had ever been diagnosed with a series illness and they all related to the following scenario:

Dina felt great after getting a clean bill of health from her physician but as she tried to fall asleep, she dwelled on one statement he made, Tumors can grow at any time. Come back in six months if you’re concerned.  Questions raced through her mind as she tossed and turned, Why did he tell me that? If there was nothing wrong, why would he say come back in six months?  What if he missed something? Why do I keep getting headaches and dizziness? Dina felt so anxious she got out of bed and searched the web for answers.  As she reread the same articles about symptoms of brain cancer, she began to feel lightheaded.  Why do I keep feeling this way? Do I really have brain cancer? Is this really happening? 

The good news was, Dina did not have brain cancer or a brain tumor. Dina had health anxiety. There are two types of health anxieties: Somatic Symptom Disorder and Illness Anxiety Disorder, formally known as hypochondriasis.  Many people with health anxiety are often unable to function or enjoy life due to their fears and preoccupations. They obsess over bodily functions (breathing, heartbeat), physical oddities (skin blemishes), and physical discomfort (headaches, stomach aches, lightheadedness).They might worry about a specific organ (brain, heart) or a disease they heard about on the news or at work (MS, diabetes). They are preoccupied with the belief that they have, or are in danger of contracting, a serious illness. Many will purse doctors and tests repeatedly for reassurance, but are reluctant to seek mental health treatment since they believe their condition is medically based.   

Why does health anxiety persist despite reassurance from doctors?

Although some refuse to be examined by their physician due to their fear of discovering the worst, seeking reassurance from doctors, insisting on repeated medical tests, and visits to urgent care, are more common in health anxiety. Being reassured by the doctor that there is no serious medical illness brings relief -- temporarily. The vicious cycle quickly resumes as new thoughts and physical sensation surface, followed by googling and self-diagnosis, misinterpretations of news in the media, anxiety, and more visits to doctors to resolve the uncertainty. The cycle ignites with each new alarming thought or symptom. 

The False Alarm

Car alarms are set off when a criminal breaks in but imagine how problematic it would be if the siren blared each time a pedestrian walked by.  The car alarm would be misinterpreting innocent people as dangerous criminals.

With health anxiety there is the misinterpretation of discomfort and normal bodily sensations as dangerous. The body is very noisy. Healthy human bodies produce all sorts of physical symptoms that might be uncomfortable, unexpected, and unwanted, but not dangerous.

Normal sensations in the body that can produce fear and worry include changes in visual acuity, heart rate, blood pressure, saliva levels, depth of breathing, balance, and muscle tone, just to name a few.These are normal and harmless bodily changes, but when a person believes they are symptoms of a terrible disease, it causes anxiety.The sensations are real, but the beliefs are false.

Why do people misinterpret sensations in their body and overestimate danger? 

Sometimes misinterpretation is due to assumptions about an illness. For example, “My cousin died of cancer. It’s only a matter of time until I get it.”  Or, viruses sped easily. People in Africa are dying of Ebola. It could easily spread to the U.S.  People with health anxiety might hold rigid definitions of good health, perhaps believing that any discomfort whatsoever means bad health.

Anxiety is a protective mechanism and scanning the body for an illness seems like the right thing to do to protect ourselves. However, when we are preoccupied with something, we tend to notice it. Last month when I was looking to purchase a new car, I suddenly began to notice every car on the road; the make, model, and the color. Previously, I didn’t pay attention. Looking for symptoms makes you notice subtle sensations you might otherwise ignore. When you become preoccupied with bodily sensations, those sensations become amplified and last longer.

This is when it gets tricky. 

Each scan of the body produces uncertainty and doubt, giving the imagination opportunity to create stories. As you imagine the worst, your body’s alarm system sounds off in the form of symptoms of anxiety (racing heart, tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, jitters, tingling, lightheadedness, nausea, stomach discomfort, sweating, headaches, etc.) giving your imagination additional fuel to create great works of fiction.The symptoms are real. The thoughts are false.

The Most Effective Treatment is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Since it is possible to suffer with anxiety and a serious medical condition, medical problems must be ruled out with a thorough physical exam. Once this is accomplished, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for any form of anxiety including health related anxiety.

CBT is a therapy model that focuses on our cognition, the way we think, and our behaviors, the way we act. The main concept behind CBT is that our thoughts about a situation (the fear of ALS) effect how we feel (afraid and anxious) and how we behave (holding out our hands to see if they are trembling). We tend to assign meaning to specific situations (tingling means we have MS).  It’s not the actual situation causing our anxiety, but the meaning – accurate or not. And, when you have anxiety, you give your thoughts a lot of meaning, and thus, a lot of power. 

CBT aims to help you overcome fears by correcting irrational thoughts and changing problematic behaviors.  By acquiring a certain mindset, you can learn to approach anxious situations differently and learn to tolerate discomfort and uncertainty. Illness anxiety can be overcome with the help of a skilled anxiety specialist and CBT.  You can find a therapist in your state on the ADAA website.  And for additional information on Illness Anxiety watch my free ADAA webinar.

This blog post has been updated by the author - June 22, 2020

Additional ADAA Resources by Ken Goodman:

LIVE Webinar - December 7, 2020 - Join ADAA member Ken Goodman, LCSW - Health Anxiety Part 2: Learn How to Face Your Fear of Death and Overcome Health Anxiety

Additional Resources:

About the Author

Ken Goodman, LCSW, treats anxiety and OCD in Los Angeles. He is the author of The Anxiety Solution Series: Your Guide to Overcoming Panic, Worry, Compulsions and Fear, A Step-by-Step Self-help Audio Program, Break Free from Anxiety, a coloring, self-help book for anxiety sufferers, and the Emetophobia Manual, for those who suffer with the fear of vomit.  Ken Goodman is an ADAA board member and Clinical Fellow. Visit Ken's website.


Continuing from my previous post, I started reading online on how to treat it and avoided googling my symptoms. Started meditation on this app called calm and reading bookings on happiness. I believe the reason for all with health anxiety is because we are all fixated with our body (which I am sure everyone is aware of). I read somewhere that we should only be focusing on our body symptoms 20% of the time but I believe for all of us who is dealing with health anxiety, we are having like 99% of our attention on our body sensation. Try to focus on your toe now with 100% of your attention and see how it feels. When our attention is fixated on a part of our body and looking out for a symptom, there is a high chance that we will discover something. For me, I get better over time through 10mins meditation every night (this has nothing to do with religion). Also. whenever I have a negative thought, I will tell myself that it is a negative thought and push it out of my mind. It get better over time guys! Trust me! Sorry that I don’t have a step by step guide on how I got better but it sort of like improve over time. I am not a doctor and I think if you are feeling unwell, you should consult a doctor and if the doctor says it’s okay, then it probably should be fine! (I think I have seen more than 5 Doctors, cardiologist - who ran a CT scan which is really expensive but the result only calm my mind for like a week) I am Glad I am about to find back this page and if I recall anything, I will be sure to come back here to add on! Good luck guys!!

I have been going through the comments and I can totally relate. I am 36 and until May this year, I went through life like I am invincible. I used to relish stressful situations, particularly at work, and prided myself on being able to bring out the best in me.

About eight months back, I started experiencing twitches in my right arm. The fingers on my left arm tingled a bit. I decided to investigate. After a bunch of tests, I discovered that my spinal cord was getting compressed in the neck area. That was a shock, to put it mildly, and my life turned around. Nevertheless, I rallied and did all the right things and ended up getting surgery three months ago to relieve the compression. The procedure went off well and the doctor told me to forget about it and just live my life. However, I have been so anxious and stressed out since my diagnosis that I have a whole bunch of new symptoms - palpitations, weakness and the scariest of them all - twitches all over the body. I went to google and immediately concluded that I had MS or ALS. Which made my anxiety worse and the symptoms worse, which in turned convinced me further that I had some horrible Motor neuron disease and that I am going to die in 3 years. After two hellish weeks during which I relentlessly googled (I now hate Larry page with a passion), I discovered that anxiety could be behind all this and decided to relax. But it is SO difficult to practice this. Once a week I relapse and have some sort of a panic attack and ruin all the progress that I make. It is set off by something as simple as a twitch in my arm (the symptoms aren’t gone and may take several months). The problem is, anxiety symptoms don’t suddenly go off after a couple of days of being cool. Which makes it so so challenging to get out of the vicious cycle. What seems to help is - exercise (lots and lots of walking), yoga and meditation. (I haven’t gone for anxiety meds yet as I am scared I will end up being dependent on them). I try a few other tricks too. For example, I decided to rename ALS to Absolutely Lovely State of health so that every time I think I have ALS I can tell my idiotic brain that I am actually in super health. Still not a week goes by without morbid thoughts. This is indeed the battle of my life.

Anyway, I hope to come back to this forum a few months down the line and tell a more positive story. My love and best wishes to everyone else on this forum going through this shit. Power to you all. Together we can beat this. We can win.

Everything what you wrote I am experiencing at the same level for a long time . All sensations, symptoms etc. I have it pretty much every day in the last 3 weeks . I won t add anything , it s just exactly the same situation that you re experiencing. How did you go through that after everything? Did your way was successful? Can you share some more info ? Waiting for your respond . Thank you !!!

OMG this is me, had a pain in my leg two weeks ago then the random twitching started, one google session later and that was it I have ALS!! have suffered with anxiety/panic disorder health anxiety since i was about 7 now 54, Exercise almost daily eat healthy not overweight....not sleeping... obsessing daily...every muscle flicker sends me into a panic...started meditating and trying to do some self CBT. I think what's at the root is the pandemic but this is what my brain does instead. It helps to get this off my chest and hearing of others living the same the same nightmare.

Reading through these comments is the first time I have not felt alone in almost a year. My health anxiety has gotten so bad that the once seldom panic attacks have been replaced by almost constant panic that is always in the background and trying to take over my body nearly every day. I am constantly dizzy and feeling like I'm going to faint, and don't know what sensations are real anymore and when/if to trust my body. I am so attuned to every small thing that is happening inside me and I immediately catastrophize and think I am going to die or pass out. Objectively, I know nothing is medically wrong with me and this is all in my head, and a result of a variety of other stressors going on (e.g., having to move away from my husband for work to a place with absolutely no physical support system; having my parents be recently diagnosed with cancer and other chronic health problems). I find myself grieving the life that I will not have because I am convinced my days are numbered and that I will be dead by some illness that no one has yet identified. I am working on trying to manage the anxiety through therapy and exposure-work. I know something is happening because I keep changing my conceptualization of how I view my anxiety and panic, and then my symptoms morph into something new or different. It is like I am fighting this monster that is constantly evolving and won't relinquish it's hold on me. It is eating me alive, ruining relationships (because I can talk about nothing besides the panic), and no matter how motivated I am to fight this thing, it just won't fade away. I am scared to go on SSRI's, as the primary side effects are somatic symptoms (like nausea and dizziness), and I am afraid this will just worsen my health anxiety. I also feel like such an incompetent professional and imposter because I am a mental health provider who has literal done this work with my own patients and can intellectualize everything that is happening to me. But it doesn't matter. This panic and anxiety and feel like I have completely lost control of my mind and body, and fear these sensations will never go away.

As bad as this might sound it's so comforting to know there are other ppl out there fighting and winning there personal battles with anxsiaty/depression disorders.
I personally have been suffering with anxsiaty going on 20 pluss years due to childhood/teenage/adult trauma.I am currently 28 year's old and only in the last 10 or so years has it been really prevalent as a disorder that no amount off alcohol or drug abuse in my mid teens/early 20's could truly mask I'm now your averages run off the mill dad with 3 children and a server anxsiaty disorder that comes and goes as it pleases or when trigged by anything from a nightout to palpitations witch subsequently leaves me house bound in bed hideing from anything that could stress me out for weeks on end (thank god I'm self employed) the hole time listening to every single heart beat breath niggling little thing that will be the thing that does me over in. All to come out the other side alive and well wating for it to happen all over again. This is no way to live and i urge anyone reading this to go and seek help NO!! one should have to live there day to day lives wile being a victim off there own mimds..i apologise for my poor grammer English was never a strong point

This is a lovely article to read! So well written! I'm a long time sufferer of health anxiety and it's horrendous. I'm so super sensitive that I feel every sensation in my body and generally associate it negatively. I catastrophise all the time and I'm exhausted. I have two children and I constantly worry that I will leave them without a mother! Everybody around me has a significant illness (I directly work with three people with cancer). I'm just not coping at all currently. I try and prepare my children for the worse which, they don't understand at 3 and 4 years old and I feel terrible doing it but I want them to know how much I love them. To scared to go to the doctor's as well. I have gotten a few minutes of reassure from this article for which I am grateful. I just wish I was brave and normal. X

I've been recently diagnosed with somatoform disorder. A kind of health anxiety disorder where my brain finds and obsesses over a disease and then produces physical symptoms. I always have been anxious about my health but never as obsessed as the past month. I used to vape as a healthier option to smoking, however my family managed to convince me to quit the habit as it has some adverse effects (cough in chest). I didn't really bother about it because the cough slowly dissipated as i exercised more. However, last month i got a nasty bout of acidity, which hurt the left side of my chest so hard that i was very surprised and scared. Instead of checking the doctors i decided to google my symptoms and of course Dr google said heart attack. I'm 26 years old without any prior heart diseases but i started to fear that i had a heart attack. I was convinced that i was going to die that day and i stayed awake all night. I went to a physician the next day who checked on me and diagnosed me of acidity. However i wasn't convinced. In the meantime, the severe acidity had caused a sore throat and i was coughing again. My ecg results came out without any problems. I was perfectly healthy. But then, why am i coughing again? Did my cough return? Do i have lung cancer? Do i have throat cancer? Is it COPD? I obsessed on and on and everytime I googled i found a new symptom and a new disease. My acidity came back, i was always sweaty, always felt sick and was always coughing. I went to a pulmonologist who said that I only have a minor cough from acidity. That man specialises in lung but i decided that i was right and he was wrong. Now that i knew that i don't have a lung disease, i was sure i have a throat disease. I googled throat disorders and sure enough i had all of them. Not just one. I went to another physician. He's like family to me and I trust him very much. But he also said that i have no diseases and i was perfectly normal. I remember i broke down in his office and started crying. I couldn't understand what's wrong with me. My blood tests came and everything was perfect. That's when I decided to go take a psychiatrists help. He gave me antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds and believe it or not in 3 weeks as i am writing this comment, i feel a lot better. I still get anxiety bouts but i say to myself it's not real, don't worry, take deep breaths.

I hope in the next weeks to come, my anxiety fully ceases to exist and i become normal again.

Do you worry that you may have or could acquire a serious medical illness? Do you constantly research disease symptoms on line? Do illnesses like cancer, heart attack, and multiple sclerosis scare you? If so, join ADAA board member Ken Goodman, LCSW, as he explains what health anxiety is and how you can overcome it. This live webinar on Saturday, December 7 at 1:00 pm EST will include a former health anxiety sufferer and will offer a Q&A opportunity. There is a $10 fee to register for this live webinar with all proceeds benefiting ADAA's free public educational resources. Register Today:

What do I do if I have a loved one with this but they get angry if you try and suggest it?

Male, 42, USA...

I am worried there is something wrong with my heart & that all of these medical experts and professionals are missing it. Just about every morning I wake up with a sense of dread and doom, like this will be the day. I have tingling in my arm, leg, back, and sometimes head. All of these tests, labs, images and negative results have not assured me that I am not at risk for a major medical event. I cannot believe that anxiety and stress can do this to a person. How this 'thing' manifests itself physically is truly terrifying and debilitating. There are days when I feel like I'm just going to collaspe and die in the street, then an hour or so later it's like it never even happened. For four years this has plagued me, and an endless list of possible explanations as to why has not alleviated it at all. It feels like each one is the first one. When it comes on, all of the possible (or in my case probable) ways to die come to the forefront. Four years later...I'm still here. This realization alone should give me permanent peace, but strangely it has not.

I know depression is not contagious like chicken pox, but it seems it can somehow affect someone living with a depressed individual. I'm now afraid of every single ache, twinge, twitch and spasm that occurs in my body. These are the hallmarks of health anxiety, or what the old folks used to call hyperchondria. Somewhere along the line of this ordeal I have become aware-and afraid- of my own mortality. It's not that I'm afraid of dying; it's leaving this world at an early age and leaving my kids.

Thanks to countless articles about the 'signs & symptoms of X' or 'these foods are not good for you (although at one time they were), I'm convinced I have every disease known to man!. How did I let myself fall into this trap? Even when i weighed 370 lbs. I was NEVER worried about my health because I never smoked, drank more than moderately, and walked everywhere I went without being tired, sweaty or winded. That episode on Oct. 25 2015 really changed my life. It would also seem that all of the loved ones lost prior to that begun the real change and I never realized it. All of the grief I should have expressed was just pushed aside, and I allowed it to bubble to the surface as something else. There are days when I feel like this something other than anxiety or depression. Yet, at the end of each day, I'm still alive. This is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this affliction: 'OH MY GOD! I'M DYING!/Well, what to make for dinner?'

One consolation that seems to help me 'cope' are the thousands if not millions of people telling their stories on many online forums like this one. It's like looking in a mirror! These poor people describe the exact same scenarios, sensations & symptoms as myself & everyone else! A vast majority of them say it happened just out of nowhere: sitting at home, watching TV, out with friends...then BAM!! I once read that this affliction can present itself when a person is in a good place in their life and are ready to deal with whatever trauma or grief they may have endured but never addressed. I will totally agree if that is in fact what we all here are suffering from on a daily basis. Well Wishes to everyone.

Please join ADAA board member Ken Goodman, LCSW, as he explains what health anxiety is and how you can overcome it. This live webinar on Saturday, December 7 at 1:00 pm EST will include a former health anxiety sufferer and will offer a Q&A opportunity. You can register here: 

Thank you, the ADAA team

Ever since I my grandma passed from a brain aneurysm when I was 10, I’ve had bad health anxiety. I can go years with my anxiety well managed, but, if I don’t keep busy regularly, my anxiety comes right back. It’s been bad; I’ve been freaking out about hypertension and I worry that my BP is dangerously high and I’m afraid to get it checked again. I’ve also been obsessing over my pulse and paying close attention to it. I can feel my heartbeat sometimes too. These symptoms only appear when I’m going through bad episodes of anxiety. I made a doctor appointment because I’m tired of feeling this way. I’m very nervous; my white coat syndrome improved greatly when I was busy and now, with some scares I’ve had, it’s back, with great intensity. I fear that my BP will be so high, that they will have to send me to the ER. That’s a scary thought, but, I want to make sure everything is okay. I’m tired of feeling this way. I cried because of this rut I was stuck in. My life was getting so much better, now, it’s just tough.

Reading all these posts from everyone on the one hand makes me feel somewhat comforted to know that so many others can relate to the torment I've been through (and only people who have been there understand that torment/hell/torture are not overstating the issue)...and on the other hand just makes so sorry that all of you have had to also go through this. I'll be praying for relief and true peace for you all.

One thing I will recommend that has been a game changer for me -- direct exposure to sunshine. Research has already been pointing to the relationship between sun exposure and levels of the extraordinarily helpful vitamin D3 sulfate (not to be confused with the kind of vitamin D3 you can take orally which does not provide the same kind of health benefits). More recently, research is showing that there is a STRONG relationship between proper serotonin levels and anxiety (or depression).

I came across this benefit accidentally. I knew that people were starting to recognize the relationship between sun and vitamin D so I started to "lay out" in the sun for 15 or 20 minutes a day to try and boost those levels. But after a couple weeks I noticed the darndest thing. It was like I had *waves* of calmness come over me out of the blue and completely out of my control. As if someone took my anxiety dial and just turned it down on me. In fact, it wasn't until I felt it removed that I realized just how high my anxiety levels had been.

Now, it isn't that some of the same thoughts wouldn't come up, but when I was in that "good" place mentally it's like I'd just say "eh, I'm sure everything will turn out OK if I wind up needing health treatment," instead of my typical "I'm going to die!!!!" As this (dealing with these thoughts calmly) was so out of place for me it was almost amusing when I felt myself respond in this new way.

So, for anyone reading this who is dealing with any kind of anxiety...depression...panic...whatever, who is not also regularly getting exposure to the sun I URGE you to at least try making it a habit for a couple weeks to see if you get some assistance from it. At the very least, getting your levels of vitamin D3 sulfate up will help your immune system greatly (which helps keep your body humming along better in any case).

One big point here. What you're wanting is to primarily increase your exposure to UVB rays (the shorter rays that have less skin penetration but are responsible for burning with too much exposure)...not UVA rays (the longer rays that penetrate deeper and cause suntan). Generally you need the sun fairly high in the sky (say, from 10:00-2:00 roughly) to obtain these beneficial rays, and if it's overcast you will not get enough UVB rays to stimulate the production we're looking for.  

In winter (or if you live somewhere where this isn't practical) you can get similar benefits from indoor tanning with some BIG caveats. Most tanning beds are made for just that -- tanning. So they want to maximize UVA rays to allow a lot of tanning with less chance of burning. These are what are called "high pressure" bulbs and not what you want (these are often in the "fancy" beds). What you're looking for are "low pressure" bulbs which are often in the most "beginner" or "plainer" tanning beds. The company Sperti also makes a UVB lamp for home use (their phototherapy lamp) if you can afford one (ebay has used ones at a discount). As an aside, UVB exposure has also been huge for helping people with some types of Lupus and psoriasis (life changing in some cases). 

A big point -- you aren't looking to get a dark tan with this process (being tanner actually makes the process take longer going forward). You're just looking for a few short minutes exposure if in a tanning bed or maybe 4 or 5 minutes each "side" if lying out in the sun.

Now, does exposure to UV radiation increase your chance of skin cancer? Yep. Apparently it does. However, if done in a careful manner you're primarily just somewhat increasing your chance of basal cell carcinoma (generally easy to whack off if it happens). Also, increasing these levels of D3 sulfate are thought to provide greatly increased protection against INTERNAL cancers. Looking at research regarding the higher levels of internal cancers in areas where less sunshine is taken in make me think a little higher chance of skin cancer is easily worth the trade off if it gives me extra protection against internal cancers -- especially given the other benefits of vitamin D3 itself and especially the calming I get from the increased serotonin.

Anyway, not sure if that'll help anyone else but it's been huge for me. As I said before I'll be praying for everyone here! 

Health Anxiety has taken over my life. My brother died of Leukemia in June and my sister had a double mastectomy last year. I am overwhelmed with fear. My body tingles and my face feels numb, i get dizzy, my bladder burns etc etc. I am overwhelmed and cant escape it, everything is a death sentence in my head. I need so bad to break the cycle. I see a therapist next week. Lord I hope I can get relief. I cant do this anymore.

I've suffered from health anxiety for most of my adult life, and I can relate to 99.9% of the comments on this page. My latest fixation is a tremor in right hand which comes and goes, and a sensation that weakness is setting into my right arm. Of course I'm thoroughly convinced its the beginning of MS or Parkinson's. I wouldn't wish this anxiety on my worst enemy. I've decided that I have to get professional help, as much as I've resisted the idea for years. But, I just can't live like this any longer. This week I'm going to make the call.

Wish me luck.

I loved this article. Is there an online forum for those that suffer from health anxiety? It’s nice to converse with those that understand exactly my fears and thoughts.

To everyone here struggling just like me I can recommend you the book DARE. It will not end your anxiety but it will help you accept it and live with it.

I constantly research. I worry of reoccurence with family history of mom, sister and 2 aunts. I developed Strep A in bloodstream and Cellulitis of breast flap and it spread like crazy. I am still on antibiotics as it came back as soon as I stopped amoxicillin. 20 Days now 10 more days. I had Diep Flap and just had more fat grafting and this all happened on day 30 after it was done. Spent 6 days in hospital for it and IV Vancomiacin. Blood work was off of course. Now I worry of sepsis. I wake at 3 AM and can' sleep. I do ok while at work so I started to focus on something like sewing at home to occupy my mind. PTSD!

Good early morning,

I would like to know if you have an article of dealing with anxiety attacks during the middle of the night when food is passing through the digestive tract? Whatever I eat, wakes me during the night when it's passing through my stomach. The nerves feel like lightening bolts firing & it connects with my brain & then I get an anxiety attack & bad dreams. What can I do or take so that this will stop & i can sleep through the night?

Today I sit here, during a very scary time in all of our lives, the Covid-19 Pandemic. And my brain can't help but to tell me that, not only am I going to contract this disease, I also have heart problems (I do not, I assure you.) and I might even have lung issues (that too, I do not... easier typed than thought) I might even have brain issues (please note I am not naming the disease as I do not wish to type it into existence.)

I am a relatively healthy 33 year old mother of 1 - 18 month old. Married to a very patient man. A stay at home mom. despite being very busy with my son, my brain has more than enough time to take trips to no mans land and get lost. And when I finally return, it's decided that I am going to die and I need to call 911. And it's very hard to talk me off that ledge. I have tunnel vision and the only thing I can see is my impending doom.

And I do. Almost always because I am alone with my son all day and do not want to just drop dead. ( I won't.... try telling frantic, alone, and scared Mary that...)

As someone who is struggling to deal with these demons, I find comfort in reading articles that articulate exactly what I am feeling. But disheartening to find there isn't a solution. Nothing easy. And that scares the heck out of me.

I don't want to take drugs to help me. I just want to talk to someone who specializes in people with health anxiety. I've tried and tried getting a Dr. But the soonest I can see one (before Covid-19) was 5 months out... FIVE.... I'm scared yesterday.. I don't know what 5 months Mary will feel....

Can anyone else relate? If so, please email me so we can talk..

I can totally relate to you ! I just had a massive panic attack and had to take some Ativan to calm me down . A little back story I’ve had health Anxiety as long as I can remember. I was diagnosed with thrombocytopenia(low blood platelets) about 11 Years and they still haven’t Changed still low . They also sent me for a ultrasound a couple years ago and was discovered I had an enlarged. They did the us 6 months later with no change.So today something triggered me to believe this itch on my left side of my throat is a mass because I probably have lymphoma.. I was just about to go to urgent care but decided that’s not a good place to be right now .. I called my doctors office and they are only doing phone consults .. ahh I’m sure this is all in my head And probably triggered by the covid but it’s so debilitating. And extra scary with all this instability

I've had health anxiety a year now since I lost a loved one to heart failure.
When I read the part in this article where it says that the things we are feeling are normal sensations in our body that really helped me and now every time I start feeling my anxiety I think about that. Obviously my anxiety isn't all the way gone but educating myself has helped a lot. Thank you so much.

Im going crazy.About 4 mths ago l sat with my leg scrunched up under me and got this weird feeling like my body was shaking but it wasn't visible.Not long after was having trouble sleeping and unbeknownst to me my hubby was jerking in his sleep.I felt this movement many times and was in a frenzy thinking it was my body shaking again.This stressed me out so so much and l dwelled on it so much that now l have actually given myself internal shakes.They are terrible and have seen doc and told it's anxiety.Now l am giving myself headaches, weird sensations in my limbs etc etc.Always be a hypo re cancer had every one imaginable in my stupid this 😳

I was lying on the couch felt as though my heart was beating out my chest searching for answers and help and reading this article has helped me feel relaxed as it perfectly described how I felt and gave me common ground with other people suffering.

My anxiety make my blood pressure to rise and every time I take a bp test my heart and bp rises so I'm not able to ever get an accurate reading. I struggle with that and worry about bp. Check my pulse too much with fingers I look at veins and my pupils too much. How can I get over these fears?

I think what this person forgot to include is that many health anxiety sufferers actually create very real sensations in their body from fear worry and stress. It's a mechanism of the autonomic nervous system. We read symptoms online and then will start to experience them in earnest minutes, hours or days later. This is why people get so scared by this disorder.

Hi everyone I am really glad I found this page where I can read and understand more on this....I am new to it and it freaks me this is my story....last yr I went to my husband sister to spend the weekend with them to celebrate my bday....unfortunately her husband was murdered on the day of my bday and it was a heartbreaking most stressful day for us....I happen to stay due to family support seeing this a devastating time for them...while there I was fish out of water....couldn't of sleep properly all sort of thoughts circling in my head.....I was introduced to some herbal (weed) tea to calm and relax myself....I drank it the 1st and 2nd night I was gud normal slept well....but the 3rd night was a total different kettle of fish....I eat it after I drank it and after an hour in bed I start getting panic attacks. Felt my body shutting down heart racing I was out of it. 1st thought that came on my head is that this dead man come for me lol...I happen to fall asleep and I was ok until I returned I said I never experienced this and never heard anyone in my family going through to me I still thought I was dying....i started checking every little thing that happened to me if i get a chest pain is heart attack if I feel dizzy and het headaches is brain tumor or a vein gonna pop...sometimes I feel like I'm gonna get a stroke....I went by the doctor get ecg,chest xray,blood test urine test done and everything came back normal but in my head I keep thinking negative. No lie the mind does really play games with u and if you dont control it u will go mad thinking going online and checking every little thing....I kept telling myself this have been happening to me since last year and if I was to die it sure would of happen already... anxiety is something we can handle keep talking yourself I am in control of're not in charge of is a scary thing i dont like it but God give me courage to deal with it and i am trying to deal with it....why it's even more hard for me my dad died from heart attack and stroke and in my head I keep saying am I gonna die the same way...everytime I get this anxiety I keep remember seeing my dad taking his last breath and miss him ....but God will help us through this.....accept anxiety say I'm in control every pain or headache u get talk to God and he will guide u through it.....I had a fear of death ( death anxiety) and nw after talking to God I am not afraid of death anymore after this health anxiety came up and running to doctors to check everything little thing I am saying to myself this is reality i am ok i am just getting older and my body changes.....i am not saying i dont get it I still do but trying to handle it and take charge of myself.....we will be good God gives us as much as we can handle....I tell my mind god loves us more he gives us challenges in life to make us stronger than others......hope this helps cause all your artiles helped me too....

I also experience all of this too. Health/Heart/Death anxiety. All the symptoms. I'm too prone of stress. I am a worrier. I worry in every little thing, not until I come to cast all of my worries to the One who was, who is and who will control of everything. God cares. We just need to cast it all to Him. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Praying for our peace of mind..

Thanks for the info. I have a friend who I think needs mental health anxiety therapy because he told me that he's having fatigue and unexplainable fear of interacting with people that he never felt before. I know a therapist in our area,, deals with this kind of condition and I just want to ask your opinion or if you know any therapist in Irvine CA area. TIA.

It startedat 14. It felt like my throat was closing and I thought Iwas going to die. I am till this day struggling to swallow. Itwent away for a while, but returned. Ithink it's because of what's going on in the world at the moment. I am scared. I google some disease and I feell the symptoms. I swallow different some days,then my throat feels dead or paralysed, then it is my breathing.Thel list goes on and on. And it happened out of nowhere... I wonder how other people feel... They look so cool, as if nothings wrong with them... I hope it goes away... This anxiety....

Hey man, I'm a young guy with health anxiety such as yourself and I've had your same problem. For weeks I thought I was having trouble swallowing. After I finally calmed down about it, it went right away and I never felt it again. Trust me when I say health anxiety can make you feel physical symptoms. You got this.

I have been reading all these comments but cannot find anyone that has a fear like mine which makes me believe maybe its not fear and its real. You see, I am convinced i have Bi Polar or psychosis and it totally freaks me out and sends my anxiety out of control. I have been seeing the same psychologist for almost 20 years on and off and i am currently on Lexapro. I really dont know what else to do as i believe my doctor or psyshologist just havent picked up on the fact as i am able to hide it well.

Hi there, my health anxiety has gotten worse over the last two years and as I am in the midst of one of my "phases" as I call it at the moment I am roaming the web to try and make sense of this all. I'm a 23 year old female and this anxiety about my health is like scratched record playing over and over again. I go for weeks and sometimes months without having any issues, but then it hits me like a tonne of bricks again and usually ends up in many doctors visits or trips to the emergency room. I'm so sick of it. I wonder if I will ever get over it? I am going to seek help for it, I feel that it will ruin my life if I dont

my 23 tear old son is obsessed totally consumed thinking he is terminally ill. He has been to his dr twice in April. He was tested for Covid19 and it wS negative. We live in Ohio my mom lives in Arizona she took him there for a month. He will be back June 20th. But has been obsessed out there with his health. I don't know what to do anymore. I am so stressed bc I don't even want to talk to him because that's all its about is he is dying and feels excruciating pain. I yelled at him and said people fought in war and lost their limbs and get up everyday and some have jobs. Thst he needs to stop with this. He has never been sick growing up. Both of my sons have strong immune systems. I am desperate because I don't know how to help him. Please give me advice how to help

It’s like you are inside my head! Everything you said is me to a T. It’s comforting to know my “craziness” is understood by therapists like you and that I am not alone with my health anxiety. It also provides me hope for getting beyond this. Thank you!

The present situation is such that has forced us to stay inside our home. My health anxiety has caused me stomach issue which makes me think that i might have a serious issue in my stomach . Some time a little chest pain makes me tremble with fear. But when i do workouts or play games or go for a walk i heardly have any such issues.

I'm so glad to see I'm not alone in this! I can't tell you how many times I've gone to the ER because of chest tightness, pain, skipped heart beats or something of the like. Every test comes back fine, but I constantly feel like they're missing something! Deep down, I know it's anxiety, but it's so crippling! I feel like I'm losing my mind! I constantly feel like I'm going to have a heart attack and Googling it only makes it worse. I can't stand living like this. I'm currently getting CBT Therapy and I hope through that I can learn how to deal with this. I just had to ER visits in a month timespan. Previous to that I had a holter monitor for 48 hours, an exercise stress test, an EKG, electrocardiogram and x-rays taken, they all came out normal. My Doctor must think I'm a lunatic. 😅

Was mild until coronavirus. Now I am sure I will get it. Mostly stay home. Groceries delivered. When I do go out I wear a mask and sometimes gloves but still sure I will get it. Have sinus issues so that adds to fear.. Constantly taking temp, oxygen and blood pressure. Bought all these gadgets since covid. I am in counseling.

I can totally relate to this. I have a blood pressure monitor, a Pulse Oximeter, a glucose monitor. Just to help convince myself when I'm feeling lightheaded or dreamlike or my heart is palpatating that its just the anxiety. My fear is something happening to me or having something wrong with me and leaving my 4 year old daughter or needing to be away from her due to some serious medical condition. I stress about passing out and then her being all alone. I gained some comfort with that by making a plan and explaining things to her. She knows to got to the neighbors house and say," my mom needs help" and I also spoke with the neighbor who is aware of my anxiety. Now I don't have that as part of the anxiety.

I'm not sure what occurs first. Some weird body sensation that I stress over and that causes the anxiety, or random anxiety attacks occur out of nowhere when i don't even feel stressed, and then that makes me think there must be something wrong because I was feeling great 3 minutes ago. Why would my heart all of a sudden start palpatating.

I don't like living with the fear. I don't like living with the unpredictability of this. I don't like feeling scared to die. This is debilitating. I can't make plans to do things because I never known when I'll have a random anxiety attack. I feel defeated ever time. Its an emotional Rollercoaster when I think I'm getting better and then WHAMMO. It strikes again. I just want to feel normal.

Going to talk to my doctor about this cognitive therapy.

In 2018-my birthday to be exact-I got food poisoning from some bad fish. Going into year three with 'IT', I was certain that this would set off even worse episodes. The shaking, vomiting, and overall malaise was surely something to make this health anxiety even more unbearable.

Yet, strangely, for about four days-maybe longer- there were ZERO episodes. I did not think about dying at all, even with a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection. The phantom bodily sensations were replaced with a legitimate physical ailment that required attention. The inexplicable and unwarranted fear and dread that had consumed me for over two years was nowhere to be found. The only thing wrong with me was that there was ACTUALLY something WRONG with me!!

As my body healed from the infection, I was feeling a real sense of relief. I battled through a particularly nasty, physical illness and for several days I felt great! My old self had returned! Then, like clockwork, IT returned as well! Out of the blue, no warning, no trigger. My mental illness was not done with me!

The theory is this: the subconscious mind lays dormant when we are either fully engaged in something, actually sick, or in a deep sleep. These factors have all been proven to be effective several times. It's seems that mainly when I'm trying to relax, it switches on. I mean that literally: it feels like an actual switch is flipped on and it begins; much like that very first one. Something just went 'click' in the pit of my stomach and it's been that way ever since.

I've managed to develop some rather unorthodox coping mechanisms, such as sitting in front of a fan, lying in the grass (warm months) and having an occasional glass of whiskey (yes, alcohol suppresses it; for me at least). These help on occasion but when it's too overwhelming I just sit and let it pass, which can be anywhere from 10 to 40 min.

I never believed in my wildest dreams or imagination that my subconscious would turn on me like this. However, knowing that this is indeed all mental has provided not only hope but ammunition to destroy this affliction. I don't want to cope, treat, or manage...I want this GONE!

I found a swollen lymph node on the neck, which turned out to be normal, but Dr Google gave me anxiety because of it's stupid results of serious illnesses that happen to be rare. Worst thing i've done lol.