Old 03-04-2009, 03:26 PM #1 (permalink)
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Default Health anxiety, hypochondria and medication

I am a 27 years old male, and I have been suffering from health anxiety for most of my life. I've recently found relief from it, and I'm writing this in the hopes that more people like me will seek out treatment:

My most recent hypochondria attack came on after developing random twitching throughout my body about a year ago. Since then, I have put myself through absolute hell, living day-to-day, refusing to make long-term plans, basically believing that I don't have much time left. After seeing a neurologist, he suggested that I displayed signs of OCD, which is sometimes cited as the root cause of hypochondria. A month later, I scheduled another appointment with my GP, where I mentioned what the neuro had said about OCD and hypochondria. My GP then gave me a prescription for Celexa, an SSRI anti-depressant which is frequently used to treat a bunch of other problems, such as anxiety, OCD, body dysmorphic disorder, and hypochondria. Shortly after starting the Celexa, my hyper-awareness started to fade away. Let me tell you, it was a remarkable feeling; I was spending 1 to 2 hours daily examining myself for signs of ALS, unable to leave the house without checking myself sometimes a dozen or more times, and over the first few days of treatment, I felt almost all of my ALS obsession fade away.

I realize that there are a lot of hypochondria-afflicted people who are already on some kind of medication for their problems, and that this doesn't work for everyone. I also know that if you are currently dealing with a severe hypochondria attack, there will be no convincing you that it is almost-certainly hypochondria, and not ALS; I started the medication still convinced that I had ALS, and even after all my improvement, I'm still not -completely- certain that I don't have it. What I am suggesting to anyone who has not tried medication is, to just to give it a chance. The point of my story is not to try and convince you that you don't have ALS, but to suggest that, if you seek out proper medication, there may be a tiny sliver of a chance that you'll find relief from your constant worrying. I t seems to have worked pretty well for me, and I wanted to write this because I understand what you're going through, and it kills me knowing that so many people suffer in virtual silence, feeling that their only option is to post repetitive questions on support forums for people who actually have ALS, or whatever disease they currently believe they have.

If there's one thing I hope you take away from reading my post, it's this: just TRY what I've suggested. As i recall, my words to my GP were, "at this point, I realize there's no way I'm ever going to be able to completely rule out having ALS, or the possibility of ever getting ALS in the future - no one is immune to it, after all - but, what I CAN try to control is my anxiety and my obsessions. I'm hoping you'll prescribe something to help me deal with my constant health anxiety."

I've been through half a dozen really bad health scares in my life, and each time, I've been convinced that this is what's going to finally kill me. I lived through my teenage years convinced that I would never see 20. When 20 came and went, my next unreachable age was 25, and then it was 30. I haven't gotten to 30 yet, but for the first time ever, I feel like I have real hope for recovery. The funny and horribly frustrating thing about hypochondria is, the hypochondriac seeks out diagnoses for so many different diseases, but never the one that's the actual culprit. It took me a long time to find relief - if reading my little story prompts only one person to try medication, and they succeed in finding relief as well, I'll be so grateful

Will (recovering hypochondriac)
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:22 PM #2 (permalink)
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yes, I am ocd all the way. It can be health or anything. I started swimming, so now I have to swim everyday, If I read a book, I have to read the whole thing in 2 days and buy every book by that auther untill I have burned myself out on it. When I played tennis, I played sometimes 2x a day! I know I am ocd and have hypochondria. When this als sx scare came on, I could not think of anything else. I took meds FINALLY and the same thing happen for me. That is tricky, the first one made my sx worse. then switched to lexapro and that helped but not totally. ALL my sx are still there but I manage to overlook them and not study or look at my body anymore. I am tapering off them now and thinking about alternate ways to deal with my ocd. I am thinking of going back to school so my mind will be busy and with my 3 kids, I wont have time to over think anything.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:49 PM #3 (permalink)
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My teenage son suffers from OCD. We try to laugh as much as we can about it (either we are incredibly healthy or completely dysfunctional) but sometimes that stuff just makes you cry. You have my complete and utter empathy/sympathy for dealing with OCD layered with hypochondria.

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