Apart from the many issues that we face today, one is that of excessive thinking. This manifests as hypochondria when it comes to health. Even young people discuss cholesterol and BMI (Body Mass Index) without realizing that all they need to do is to lead as normal a life as possible without obsessing about the state of their health. By making our mind and spirit strong, we can indeed lead a normal life when we stop obsessing over the state of our health. Ritu (name changed), my ex-neighbour was a person who obsessed over her health all the time. A headache would lead her to several doctors, doing all kinds of tests to eliminate the chances of regular migraine, diabetes and even tumour. When swine flu was discussed widely in the media, she panicked when even a snizzle came from her or others in the family. This again resulted in a battery of tests, with Ritu never convinced that everything was fine. More than the physical issues, it was her brain that she just could not keep in check. It was not an imagined problem like many people told her. She did suffer and did not know how to cope. Incessant worry Hypochondriasis refers to worry about having a serious illness. Often, hypochondria persists even after a physician has evaluated a person and reassured them that their concerns about symptoms do not need to worry.Some hypochondriacal individuals completely avoid any reminder of illness, whereas others frequently visit medical facilities, sometimes obsessively. Other hypochondriacs never speak about their terror, convinced that their fear of having a serious illness will not be taken seriously by those in whom they confide. As we can see, both are extreme reactions. Hypochondria/ Hypochondriasis is not an uncommon phenomena now. Many patients who does not have major health issues doubts that they are seriously affected by some disease which is not diagnosed till date. They might have tried various systems and consulted many doctors and finally ends up in a desperate condition, says Dr. Ramesh P R, the Chief Medical officer and Superintendent, Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, Delhi. Hypochondria is a state of mind and not a disease. People with hypochondriasis like to talk about illnesses (real and imaginary) of their body! Modern medical industry fosters this and thrives on it!! says Dr CV Krishnaswami, a diabetologist from Chennai who adds, I remember a story by P.G.Wodehouse of a character called Mr.Mulliner and Hypochondriasis which was hilarious. Re: books and movies, I remember a few too. In the old movie, Anand, one of the patients of Amitabh Bachchan or Dr Bhaskar Roy as he is called in the movie does not have any serious problem but keeps on visiting the doctor just for some hand holding and solace. When Amitabh Bachchan tells him clearly there is indeed no problem, his friend, a fellow doctor, asks him to make the most of it by charging money and just give some lay advice that anyone can do. The phenomenon showcased here is the unethical behaviour of some of the doctors, who make money out of other people's suffering or confusion, The same phenomenon is shown in Tere Mere Sapne, based on the book, The Citadel whose protagonist is Dr Manson. Seduced by the thought of easy money from wealthy clients rather than the principles he started out with, Manson becomes involved with pampered private patients and fashionable surgeons. In the book and movie, the protogonist does return to being ethical. One does hope this does indeed take place in the real world too.fs Too much information In Tamil, there is a proverb, Excess of even nectar can be poison. This indeed is happening in todays world. Everyone seems to be having quasi knowledge in almost all areas. As far as health is concerned, in earlier times, whenever we were not feeling well, all we used to do was go to a doctor, who usually had a good bedside manner of reassuring his patients that they would be fine soon and tell them what to do and what to avoid. The patients would then take medicines and follow the routine that he/she recommended. Lay people hardly had knowledge about ailments and their causes or possible side effects. In fact, people never really thought about disease at all. Now, with the internet becoming a major tool nowadays, most people when they feel something is wrong with them immediately browse the internet on finding out what it is all about. Once, my young cousin in Mumbai once had a runny rose and a headache. This was the time there were loads of statistics about swine flu published in the media about swine flu becoming prevalent in Mumbai. She panicked and started calling many people informing them that she probably had swine flu and telling them they should not come to her home, as swine flu was infectious. This resulted in most people counseling her that she first go to a doctor, to as all needed to focus on was becoming better soon. She did go there and soon realised what a fool she had been to panic so much. Many of my internet savvy friends panic if there is excess or less bleeding during the menstrual cycle, be it for themselves or their daughters. They browse the net and conduct a battery of tests, going from the gynaec to other specialists, analysing all the possible reasons. A similar thing happens with any kind of diagnosis, be it asthma, diabetes or even a headache ot flu. Other than the details of the ailment, there is a lot of statistics also available readily today. Here agam, this only makes people panic as they do not realise that statistics are mere numbers and tools of analysis. Therefore, one should not give them more power than necessary. Everyone today is spouting statistics and also quasi doctors without having even the basics not in place. A regular discussion even in a party is about all the tests being conducted and what the results were. The right attitude It is said we cannot find a solution unless we recognize there is a problem. We must recognize that we are facing this kind of issue that happens primarily due to fear. Seeing mind body as one is also an important aspect to reducing hypochondria. Healing and authentically shifting belief and emotional and behaviour patterns can become wellness for the whole system. Instead of judging thoughts and demanding positive thinking a person can relax and be accepting of negative thoughts as also true in a way and shift to focus on what they wish and basically stay in positive actions rather than in thought analysis. says Ameeta Sanghvi Shah, a psychotherapist from Mumbai. She adds Hypnotherapy, NLP, regression therapy, understanding how emotions work, EFT, energy work all can heal and enable a person to get free of this anxiety pattern through healing, catharsis, cleansing of energy and balancing the beliefs and behaviour patterns. Ayurveda recommends Dhee, Dhairyatmadi vijnanam manodoshoushadham param-which means consulting and improve the confidence in the patient and convince them that they do not have any major ailments. Pancha karma therapy to certain level help to improve the condition and regain the confidence level of the patient, says Dr Ramesh. If someone has to be released of these thoughts, then it is important to understand the conflict they have gone through. Counseling really helps to deal with the anxiety, which is essentially what hypochondria is says Anu Mehta, a Meta Physical Healer from Mumbai. Spirituality always helps. In fact, it is the only thing that can actually help completely. Learn meditation from a good spiritual teacher with whom you can interact personally and learn a way of life. Sit in gyan mudra whenever you have time or you are distracted with painful thoughts. This mudra will send more energy towards your brain and heal you faster and make you more attentive, says Satish Kaku, spiritual healer of Swarg Foundation. He adds, Body has a natural auto healing process but Awareness of the mind will allow to heal the mind itself and the body too. Even Ritu found her panacea through a Soka Gakkai meditation group that she was taken to by her relative. When I met her recently, I was very happy to see her happy and peaceful. I could see that she had driven away her demons. In Sum Essentially, working on hypochondria is all about rebuilding our own confidence. We need to know all that we need is within us. Even if it is information that we seek, let us look for the right one. We do know we are not just the body but the mind and the spirit too. Why can't we focus on making the mind stronger and in the process, the spirit too. This will automatically give less control on the body trying to become the primary focus in our life. --
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