Sometimes things can get to be more than you can handle. I know this from my own personal experience. I suffered a great loss and after a year of trying to cope with that loss on my own, I knew that it was time for me to reach out for some help. I was missing work, didn't want to do much of anything and just didn't feel like myself. I started seeing a counselor each week, and it has helped. If you are struggling to recover after a loss, this blog may be able to help you find the help you need to get past it.
If you have a fear of losing your mind, or you suspect you have a mental conditions but the evidence for this condition is sketchy, you may actually have a form of psychiatric hypochondria. This can have several different causes and is treatable.
Fears of Catastrophic Mental Illness
Psychiatric hypochondria is when you obsess on a false belief that you have a certain psychiatric condition or you are living in fear of losing your grip on reality. Your irrational fear of mental illness can also be considered a condition called dementophobia. As with many mental conditions, there exists a continuum of disabling effects from mild/harmless to severe and debilitating.
The irony is that if you really had the condition that you are fearful of, such as schizophrenia or psychosis or a form of dementia, you would likely not be aware that you had a mental condition at all -- you might be in denial.
Influence of Others
Sometimes friends and family may want to "diagnose" you after reading pop psychology books or information on the web. There are several problems with this. First, they may be projecting their own issues and problems on to you. Second, they do not have all the tools nor the experience that a professional has to make an accurate diagnosis. It is fine to read psychology books and learn about various conditions, but realize self diagnosis or amateur diagnosis of others can create problems where none exist or obfuscate the real problems.
An example of this is with regards to personality disorders. You may have a minor trait or a set of minor traits that may lead an over-critical mate or relative to diagnose you as a borderline personality or dependent personality type. The problem may actually be a dysfunctional relationship problem that needs sorted out. It's also possible that you may need to improve your education, communication, and or social skills, instead.
Causes and Motivations for Obsession
Like general hypochondria, you may have significant stresses in your life that are magnifying your worries and obsessions about your mental health. You may have painful memories of watching someone close to you cope with a severe mental illness, or you may have experienced some other type of trauma in your childhood. You may be gaining something emotionally by indulging in your fears that you don't feel you can get otherwise, such as attention and concern from others.
You may also suffer from depression which will need to be addressed in treatment.
Treatment for mental illness hypochondria may involve some type of controlled exposure to the conditions you are fearful of, such as doing volunteer work for groups that deal with mental illness. It may also include cognitive-behavioral therapy which will help you to examine your erroneous beliefs and work towards gaining a more positive and optimistic frame of mind. A depression medication such as a SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) may also help.
Certainly, professional attention by a licensed psychologist, such as Carol Vinson PhD, and diagnosis will help to allay your fears and help you to confront what is really bothering you underneath the mental illness phobia/hypochondria you are experiencing.Share