You may begin to believe that you are suffering from the same disease that killed your loved one. You may actually develop symptoms that the dead person suffered, even though nothing is actually wrong with you. If you think you or someone you know is experiencing an abnormal reaction to grief, seek help right away. Your family doctor may be able to help you manage some of the physical symptoms with the short-term use of medication, but abnormal grief usually requires working out your feelings through individual or group psychotherapy.
Hypochondria The popular image of the hypochondriac is a Woody Allen-type character who goes from doctor to doctor, anxiously takes his temperature every hour and imagines any headache to be a brain tumor. Most of us suffer mild episodes of hypochondriasis (commonly known as hypochondria) from time to time. But when hypochondria becomes chronic and severe, it's no laughing matter.
Hypochondria is a psychological condition that doctors categorize as a somatoform disorder the presence of physical symptoms suggest illness, but no illness can be diagnosed. If you suffer from hypochondria, you are constantly preoccupied with sickness. You believe you have a serious illness, based on your own interpretation of certain symptoms and sensations, and go from doctor to doctor in search of a diagnosis and a cure. These fears and beliefs persist, even when no illness has been diagnosed and despite many reassurances from numerous doctors.
People with hypochondria know their own medical histories in great detail, and often say that previous physicians who found nothing wrong with them were insensitive or incompetent.It's tempting to label anyone who does this a hypochondriac unfortunately, many people with real illnesses have been dismissed as hypochondriacs until their diseases were finally recognized. However,hypochondria clearly exists as a mental disorder, and the preoccupation with imagined illness can become so severe that it impairs relationships and interferes with the person's ability to function normally. The incidence of true hypochondria in the general population isn't known, but doctors estimate that between 4 and 9 percent of people they see in general practice suffer from some degree of hypochondria. The problem usually begins after age 30 and tends to persist in to older age.
Many people who suffer from clinical depression or anxiety become abnormally vigilant about their bodies, focusing on every little change, and it's not uncommon for them to develop hypochondria. The good news is that when these disorders are successfully treated, the hypochondria tends to disappear.
When you experience the death of a loved one, it's normal to feel grief. This may include feelings of sadness and loss, as well as physical symptoms of stress such as insomnia and fatigue. While these feelings vary widely from person to person, they tend to follow a normal course. But sometimes grieving is intense and long-lasting enough to be considered abnormal or even pathological. Such grieving can take a tremendous toll on your emotional and physical health and should be recognized when it occurs so you can get help.