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.
In Ireland, recent years have seen the development of important policy documents on mental health – A Vision for Change, 2006, and on suicide prevention – Reach Out, 2005