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Health anxiety is a form of anxiety involving excessive fears and worries about illness that are out of proportion to the person's actual health.
Theory[edit | edit source]
Health anxiety may occur in people with a chronic illness, such as ME/CFS, people with minor or temporary illnesses, and in healthy people.
ME/CFS[edit | edit source]
The biopsychosocial model of ME/CFS assumes a person with ME/CFS must be fearful of increasing their level of activity or exercise, and that this fear is an illness belief that is not based on fact, but on exaggerated fears that exercise will be damaging to health. Effectively, this model assumes everyone with myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome has no ongoing disease process and suffers only the effect of physical deconditioning and behaviors such as a poor sleep routine. The suggested treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to address these fearful illness beliefs, and/or Graded Exercise Therapy, a behavioral treatment to gradually increase activity and exercise levels.
Per Fink has proposed that the belief in having a serious physical illness is present in people with this diagnosis. A mental illness does not exist may be incorrectly diagnosed in people with ME/CFS; some people with severe and very severe ME, for example Sophia Mirza and Karina Hansen have been forcibly treatment in a mental health unit on the assumption that their ME/CFS symptoms were caused by a psychiatric condition.
Some people will have health anxiety in addition to ME/CFS. Conversely, in the International Consensus Criteria, a somatoform disorder must be ruled out in order to diagnose ME.
Evidence[edit | edit source]
ME/CFS is not a recognized form of health anxiety, and many people with it do not have any form of anxiety, or any other mental health condition. There is significant evidence of an ongoing disease process.
Criticism[edit | edit source]
Notable studies[edit | edit source]
- 2017, Contesting the psychiatric framing of ME/CFS(Full text)
Articles, talks and videos[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
- Hypochondriasis (hypochondria illness anxiety disorder)
- Ethical issues
- Pervasive Refusal Syndrome
- Illness beliefs
- Martha Mitchell Effect
- Medically unexplained symptoms
- Symptom focusing
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Biopsychosocial model
- Mental disorders
- Psychosomatic illness
Learn more[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- ↑ 1.01.1 Simpson, Helen Blair; Neria, Yuval; Lewis-Fernández, Roberto; Schneier, Franklin (August 26, 2010). Anxiety Disorders: Theory, Research and Clinical Perspectives. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139490665.
- ↑ Spandler, Helen; Allen, Meg (August 16, 2017). "Contesting the psychiatric framing of ME/CFS" (PDF). Social Theory & Health. 16 (2): 127–141. doi:10.1057/s41285-017-0047-0. ISSN 1477-8211.
somatic symptom disorder A psychiatric term to describe an alleged condition whereby a person's thoughts somehow cause physical symptoms. The actual existence of such a condition is highly controversial, due to a lack of scientific evidence. It is related to other psychiatric terms, such as "psychosomatic", "neurasthenia", and "hysteria". Older terms include "somatization", "somatoform disorder", and "conversion disorder". Such terms refer to a scientifically-unsupported theory that claims that a wide range of physical symptoms can be created by the human mind, a theory which has been criticized as "mind over matter" parapsychology, a pseudoscience.
The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.