Health anxiety is characterised by an extreme preoccupation about serious illness (e.g. cancer, HIV, heart disease) in the absence of any conclusive medical diagnosis. One of the hallmarks of the disorder is repeated reassurance from others (e.g. doctors, close friends or family members) that in the long term fails to reduce the anxiety. Other symptoms might include frequent focussing on and monitoring of minor bodily changes and/or pain, excessive information-seeking about the feared illness (for example by surfing the internet), repeated visits to the GP or health care specialists for tests and scans, and/or avoidance of anything relating to the feared illness (e.g. TV documentaries, newspaper articles)
In terms of treatment, there are few medications available and the main recommended NICE recommended treatment is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Counselling/psychotherapy is not recommended if your main problem is worries about your health.
If you think that you might be experiencing health anxiety and would like an assessment and/or therapy from a clinical psychologist or a CBT therapist, Changing Minds can offer you this from locations throughout Hertfordshire and North West London, including Harrow, Watford, Borehamwood and Berkhamsted. We are also able to offer online therapy via Skype.