Let’s get to know nosophobia, which is often confused with the “sickness anxiety disorder”, which is called a sickness disease; but there are differences.
Nosophobia is an extreme or unreasonable fear of contracting any disease. This phobic disorder is also known simply as disease phobia.
You may also hear it referred to as medical students’ disease. this naming; Nosophobia stems from previous assumptions that medical students are affected; by being surrounded by information about different diseases. However, evidence from a 2014 study provides less support for this idea.
It is natural to feel a little anxious as you experience various diseases around you. However, for people with nosophobia, this anxiety can be overwhelming and devastating, affecting their daily lives.
What are the symptoms of nosophobia?
Main symptom of nosophobia;is the major fear and anxiety associated with developing a generally well-known and potentially life-threatening disease such as cancer, heart disease, or HIV.
This anxiety tends to persist even after doctors examine you. You may feel the urge to see your doctor often for exams or tests, even if they have given you a clear medical report.
This intense fear and anxiety can cause some physical symptoms, including:
-heart rate increase
-Like a sleep problem.
Nosophobia also includes avoidance. you may not want to know anything about the disease. Hearing this from the news or from others can trigger anxiety. You can avoid public transport or places like markets.
On the other hand, some people with nosophobia prefer to learn as much as they can about certain diseases. they can spend hours researching the condition or looking for histories of illness.
How is it different from hypochondria?
Nosophobia is confused with hypochondria, which is now known as the disease anxiety disorder. While nosophobia includes the fear of contracting a particular disease; sick anxiety disorder involves more general concerns about the illness.
Someone with sickness anxiety disorder may worry that minor symptoms such as a sore throat or headache are signs of something serious. Someone with nosophobia may not show any physical symptoms. but he may also worry that he has (or will be) a truly specific, serious medical condition.
For example; A person with sickness anxiety disorder may worry that a headache is a sign of a brain tumor. Someone with nosophobia may be constantly worried about developing a brain tumor, even if they do not have any symptoms.
Also, people with sickness anxiety disorder are more likely to reach out to doctors for reassurance. A person with nosophobia may avoid thinking about their health or the underlying illness they are concerned about. however, this is not always the case.
What are the causes of nosophobia?
Various factors may contribute to a person developing nosophobia, but in most cases there is no clear underlying cause. If someone in your immediate circle has a serious illness and has complications, you may be worried that the same might happen to you.
Living with an outbreak of disease can also contribute to nosophobia. In these cases, you may be overwhelmed by news images about the disease and you may want to constantly hear from friends or relatives.
In recent years, experts have suggested that easy access to health information on the Internet may also play a role in nosophobia. it has become such a common cause of concern that there is even a term for it: cyberchondria.
You may also be more likely to develop nosophobia if you have a family history of nosophobia.
How is it diagnosed?
Nosophobia is diagnosed if it makes daily life difficult or has a negative impact on quality of life.
If you’re worried that your concern about illness may be a phobia, make an appointment with your doctor. can refer you to a specialist experienced in diagnosing and treating phobias.
Also, if you are having trouble with your fear of illness, consider speaking to a therapist. In therapy, you can start to address your fear and develop strategies to deal with it.
While certain phobias do not always require treatment, nosophobia can involve the fear of going anywhere where you might be exposed to a certain disease. this; It can make it difficult to go to work, attend school, or deal with other needs.
therapy can be of great help, especially for certain phobias. The two main types of therapy used are exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
This approach exposes you to what you fear in a safe therapy environment. Your therapist will start by helping you develop tools to deal with the anxiety and distress that arise when you think about an illness, such as meditation or relaxation techniques. Eventually, you will continue to face some of these fears, using the tools you’ve learned to help manage your anxiety.
This exposure therapy; It may include watching news stories about disease outbreaks, researching different diseases, or, if not contagious, spending time around people with the disease.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (cbt):
Another adjunct therapy is cbt. While your therapist can include a certain level of exposure to therapy, cbt primarily focuses on teaching you to recognize and challenge irrational thoughts and fears.
When you start worrying about illness, you can question and rethink whether your thinking is rational. Reframing irrational or sad thoughts can help improve anxiety.
Another important aspect of nosophobia therapy is to help reduce your need to seek reassurance that you don’t have a particular disease. A therapist can help you develop better coping tools that you can rely on when you want reassurance from others.
While there is no drug that specifically treats specific phobias, some medications can reduce symptoms of fear and anxiety and help when used in conjunction with treatment. In this situation, doctors can prescribe anxiety and anxiety medications and initiate treatment.