Illness anxiety disorder is a preoccupation that physical symptoms are signs of a serious illness, even when there is no medical evidence to support the presence of an illness.
People with IAD are unable to control their fears and worries. They often believe any symptom or sensation is a sign of a serious illness.They seek out reassurance from family, friends, or health care providers on a regular basis. They feel better for a short time and then begin to worry about the same symptoms or new symptoms.Symptoms may shift and change, and are often vague. People with IAD often examine their own body.Some may recognize that their fear of having a serious disease is unreasonable or unfounded.Illness anxiety disorder is different from somatic symptom disorder. With somatic symptom disorder, the person has physical pain or other symptoms, but the medical cause is not found.
Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help reduce the worry and physical symptoms of this disorder.Finding a mental health provider who has experience treating this disorder with talk therapy (psychotherapy) can be helpful. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a kind of talk therapy, can help you deal with your symptoms.
Approximately a fifth of people over 55 years old have mental disorders unrelated to the normal ageing process. Older people have the highest suicide rate of any group, reaching 20 per 100 000 at age 85 years in the USA. In France rates are particularly high, reaching 148 per 100 000 for men and 24 per 100 000 for women over 85 years old.