Leading private health anxiety treatment in London

When you worry so much about your health that it begins to control your life, this is what we call health anxiety. Health anxiety (also referred to as illness anxiety disorder or hypochondria) can preoccupy your every moment to the extent you stop being able to undertake or complete even minor tasks. As we all recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic, it's understandable to experience some anxiety or worried thoughts about your health, but if health anxiety is taking over your life it's important to take back control.

Our specialists at Schoen Clinic have been successfully treating a variety of anxiety disorders for many years. We have the expertise and understanding to offer you therapeutic and medical help to change negative and destructive thought patterns and preoccupation with your physical health.

Start your treatment journey today. For fast access to specialised private mental health treatment in London at Schoen Clinic Chelsea, you can use your health insurance or simply fund your own treatment. Call our caring team direct on +44 20 4571 6312 or email us today.

What is health anxiety?

Health anxiety is the obsessive or irrational worry about having or developing a serious medical condition. Health anxiety is usually marked by an individual's imagination or misinterpretation of physical symptoms of illness. In many cases of health anxiety, the person will confuse normal body sensations, such as muscle twitching or fatigue, with a serious illness and become increasingly anxious about it. Instead of the perceived illness itself, it's this excessive anxiety that causes extreme distress that might interfere with their life.

Anxiety disorders are chronic conditions with varying degrees of severity. It could get worse as you get older or under stress. But you can reduce your anxiety with psychological therapy and, on occasion, medicines.

With over 35 years of experience in treating mental health problems internationally, we are considered one of the best mental health clinics in the UK, regularly supporting patients to overcome social anxiety and other common mood disorders. When your health anxiety is affecting your life to the extent its constant intrusion leaves you reaching out for help, we're here for you. Our specialised treatment and therapy day programme at Schoen Clinic Chelsea is designed to improve your insights into your feelings of anxiety and help you build skills to reduce and eliminate them.

What’s the difference between health anxiety and a general concern for your health?

It's reasonable to be worried if your body is exhibiting symptoms of an illness. Constantly believing you have a symptom (or a few symptom(s) of) a serious illness is a sign of health anxiety and this can become overwhelming and incapacitating.

If you're concerned about your health you should definitely speak to your doctor or other professional. If medical test results come back negative and physicians tell you that you're well, people with health anxiety will experience intense discomfort over their actual or imagined symptoms. This situation goes beyond the typical worry for one's health and therein lies the difference.

Health anxiety is one of several types of anxiety disorders. Other types of anxiety are:

We offer an specialised treatment programme for adults with common anxiety disorders.

What causes health anxiety?


Although the precise causation of anxiety disorder is unknown, the following things might be contributing factors:

  • Beliefs - You don't understand how your body feels, how illnesses work, or both. You could believe that the symptoms in your body are the result of a dangerous illness. This prompts you to search for proof that you do, in fact, have a serious illness. You could find it challenging to tolerate ambiguity regarding unpleasant or strange physical feelings. This could cause you to mistakenly believe that any physical discomfort warrants investigation, leading you to look for proof that you are suffering from a serious illness.
  • Family - If your parents or other close family members constantly worried about their own health or yours, you may be more prone to experiencing health anxiety.
  • Past experiences - Physical feelings could terrify you since you may have experienced acute disease as a youngster.

Health anxiety risk factors

Health anxiety is most common in early or mid-adulthood but can get worse as you get older. Health anxiety in elderly persons may centre on a worry about developing memory issues.

The following are other key health anxiety risk factors:

  • Significant stressful event or occasion
  • Suffering abuse as a child
  • Having a serious illness in childhood or a parent with a serious illness
  • The possibility of being diagnosed with a serious illness that turns out to not be serious
  • Excessively checking your health and / or symptoms on the internet
  • Having a worrying personality type

Start your treatment journey today. For fast access to specialised private mental health treatment in London at Schoen Clinic Chelsea, you can use your health insurance or simply fund your own treatment. Call our caring team direct on +44 20 4571 6312 or email us today.

Symptoms of health anxiety

Experiences of health anxiety can vary and be affected by the severity of the anxiety or culture. Individuals with health anxiety often misinterpret the physical symptoms of anxiety as a sign of a serious physical health concern such as:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Muscle tension

Most people occasionally suffer from some form of minor anxiety. If anxiety lasts for a long time, causes major suffering, or affects your life in other ways, it may become serious or develop into a disorder.

Behavioural & psychological symptoms of health anxiety

Illness anxiety disorder symptoms include an obsession with the notion that you are gravely unwell, based on common bodily sensations (like a grumbling stomach) or small indicators (such as a minor rash)

Some warning signs and symptoms include:

  • Relatively constant state of worry that you are ill or becoming ill
  • Preoccupation with a certain condition(s)
  • Belief that (harmless) physical symptoms are signs of a serious condition
  • Worrying that medical tests or professionals may have missed something
  • Frequent physical checks on yourself for any physical sign of illness
  • Frequently seeking health information
  • Avoidance of any themes of serious illness (e.g. medical TV programmes)
  • Impact of anxiety on daily life (e.g. less social outings, less productivity at work)
  • Behave as if you are unwell and unable to do certain activities
  • Asking for reassurance from others that you are not unwell
  • Intrusive thoughts or images

Start your treatment journey today. For fast access to specialised private mental health treatment in London at Schoen Clinic Chelsea, you can use your health insurance or simply fund your own treatment. Call our caring team direct on +44 20 4571 6312 or email us today.

How do you diagnose health anxiety?

The nature of health anxiety is such that the person experiencing it is unaware that they have mental health needs; often it is those people around you who joke that you are a ‘hypochondriac’ or professionals that tell you there is nothing wrong and to stop worrying.

Eventually, when people have made a large number of visits to their doctor and sought various diagnostic tests to seek reassurance or to try and validate their feelings. The fear of illness still persists even when results of investigations are returned suggesting there is nothing wrong.

In the case of health anxiety (hypochondria), fear of a significant health condition or death is the main concern; this can sometimes be confused with having a somatoform disorder. Somatisation is where a person has physical symptoms for which there is no explanation for them, and the causative factor is internalised anxiety and depression.

At Schoen Clinic, our specialists address your individual fears and disorders during the diagnostic phase. The clinical diagnosis can be supported by specific questionnaires. Further physical examinations are not usually necessary, but can be arranged, if required.

Do you have health anxiety?

An individual with health anxiety will worry excessively about all aspects of their health, from their regular bodily processes to developing illnesses and disorders. They could regularly consult their doctor or invest a lot of time researching their symptoms and potential illnesses.

Health anxiety can, in extreme situations, ruin a person's life. Their everyday tasks may be hampered, their professional performance may suffer, and relationships may even become strained. Fortunately, there are techniques you may use to manage your health anxiety.

If you are experiencing ongoing social anxiety, please don't suffer in silence. Avoid attempting to tough it out alone if you feel like everything is becoming too much for you. We offer a variety of outcome-based treatments and therapies for social anxiety at our leading mental health clinic in West London.

Start your treatment journey today. For fast access to specialised private mental health treatment in London at Schoen Clinic Chelsea, you can use your health insurance or simply fund your own treatment. Call our caring team direct on +44 20 4571 6312 or email us today.

Treatment for social anxiety

Private specialised health anxiety treatment at our leading London mental health clinic

When health anxiety becomes debilitating and prevents you from doing things you previously enjoyed or are responsible for, we will work with you to address the underlying triggers and equip you with the skills to reduce the feelings of anxiety and increase your self-confidence and self-esteem. Sometimes health anxiety can impact your mood and how you see yourself and others. Because of this, it's fairly common for people who experience health anxiety to also feel depressed. We will work with you holistically towards a full recovery. Health anxiety disorders can be treated with a combination of treatment and therapies.

We use both individual and group treatment as part of multimodal therapy at Schoen Clinic. The purpose of the therapy is to teach you better coping mechanisms for your health anxiety. The targets for enhancing your coping mechanisms will be determined in collaboration with you. We will assist you in progressively learning techniques for lowering and recovering from your health anxiety.

We will decide on a treatment and therapy plan based on the degree of your health anxiety and your capacity for group work and individual therapy. Working in groups may be the first step in acquiring new skills for certain people. The groups are supportive and understand social anxiety with others in the group able to relate to these experiences.

For those who would benefit from a specialised day programme, we will ensure you have a full weekly review to make sure you are getting the most out of the programme and work to reduce your days with us as soon as possible.

We offer a comprehensive treatment programme for adults with common anxiety & mood disorders.

Leading therapies for treating health anxiety in London

Health anxiety can become incapacitating, just like other anxiety disorders.
It's time to consult a mental health expert when your health concerns start to interfere with your life.

Our team of mental health specialists works with you to develop a personalised treatment plan using evidence-based approaches, such as cognitive defusion techniques and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

The goal of treatment for health anxiety is to reduce your symptoms and increase your capacity for daily living. Psychotherapy is typically used as part of treatment, with medicines occasionally incorporated.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for health anxiety

Health anxiety is most frequently treated with psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT can be quite successful in treating health anxiety since it gives you management skills for your condition. CBT can be done either independently or in a group.

Among the advantages of CBT are:

  • Recognising your fears and assumptions regarding your health
  • Altering unwanted beliefs and learning other ways to view your body's experiences
  • Increasing your awareness of how your worries impact you and how you respond differently to your physical sensations and symptoms
  • Enhancing your ability to manage your stress and anxiety
  • Overcoming the habit of avoiding situations and activities due to bodily discomfort
  • Enhancing your functioning at home, work, or school, in social situations, and relationships with others avoiding checking your body for symptoms of illness and repeatedly seeking assurance that you're healthy determining whether you have other mental health disorders, like depression or bipolar disorder

Sometimes, additional types of psychotherapy are utilised to manage health anxiety. Exposure therapy and behavioural stress management may be included in this. In addition to other therapies, your doctor might prescribe medication if your symptoms are severe.

Psychoeducation and mediciation for health anxiety

Psychoeducation can support you to recognise the basis of your personal challenges with continuous worrying and feelings of stress. How these feelings impact on you physically and how that in turn can perpetuate and escalate those feelings is sometimes referred to as a ‘cycle of fear or anxiety.’

Psychotherapy alone is typically all that is used to treat your illness if it is reducing your health anxiety. However, some persons do not benefit from psychotherapy. If this applies to you, your doctor might suggest taking a certain medication.

This disorder is usually treated with antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Medication intended to treat those problems may also be beneficial if you also suffer from a mood or anxiety disorder.

There are significant dangers and adverse effects associated with several health anxiety drugs. It's crucial to carefully go over your treatment options with your doctors.



Relaxation techniques and mindfulness

The practice of mindfulness involves deliberately focusing our attention on our thoughts, our surroundings, and our actions. Despite having its roots in meditation, the discipline has found increasing utility in therapy.

In reality, studies have demonstrated that people with health anxiety benefit greatly from the practice of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).

One great exercise for mindfulness is the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise. Look around your current surroundings and identify:

  • Five things you can see
  • Four things you can touch
  • Three things you can hear
  • Two things you can smell
  • One thing you can taste

We hold a variety of group therapy sessions which explore mindfulness as a therapy for health anxiety.

Exposure as a central element

Attending the day programme can be intimidating, and it challenges you to take charge rather than avoid it. A technique that reduces anxiety involves gradual exposure to a stimuli or environment that causes it, together with gradually constructing coping mechanisms to deal with the anxiety-inducing circumstance.

We understand that some people may benefit from progressively increasing their group attendance. Others may choose to take advantage of our complete programme and small groups. While this exposure may initially be challenging, it can quickly become less so as you encounter acceptance and optimism from your peers at the clinic.


Intensive treatment programme for adults with anxiety & mood disorders

At our renowned London mental health clinic, we provide highly specialised help, support and treatment for common mental health disorders.

Adults suffering from disorders like depression, anxiety, panic attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), stress, low mood, emotional trauma, low self-esteem, or bipolar disorder can access a variety of therapeutic treatments through our specialised intensive treatment programme.

Find out more today. Scan the QR code or visit the link below.


Why choose Schoen Clinic Chelsea for your private anxiety treatment?

Schoen Clinic Chelsea is one of the top mental health facilities in London. As part of a global hospital network that treats 300,000 patients yearly, we have been helping people with mental health concerns for more than 35 years.

We provide health anxiety treatment at Schoen Clinic in accordance with the latest studies from leading specialists in anxiety and mood disorders.
We employ tried-and-true outcome-focused techniques to provide patients with the best opportunity for recovery and relapse prevention.

The treatment plan is created using a personalised approach based on your needs and symptoms, and it is regularly reviewed by a multidisciplinary team.
Consultant psychiatrists, nurses, psychotherapists/psychologists, family therapists, and occupational therapists make up our interdisciplinary team.
They will work with you using a consistent and empathic approach and make sure to support you in all facets of your life.

Get in touch with the team today.

Start your treatment journey today. For fast access to specialised private mental health treatment in London at Schoen Clinic Chelsea, you can use your health insurance or simply fund your own treatment. Call our caring team direct on +44 20 4571 6312 or email us today.

Health anxiety Frequently asked questions

Health anxiety FAQs

Practising mindfulness can be beneficial to people who suffer from health anxiety. Some ways you can do this are the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise mentioned earlier on the page and also:

Listen to music - Exercises like this one might appear overly basic, but the trick is to listen carefully. Why does that matter?

  • Avoid putting your listening on "autopilot" at all costs.
  • Instead, pay attention.
  • If there are lyrics, pay attention to them.
  • Make an effort to recognise each instrument.
  • Put the sounds or words into your mind's eye.
  • Your focus can be brought to the present moment with the aid of this practice.

Use guided meditation exercises - We learn to let go of our thoughts and relax our bodies through guided meditation.
If you suffer from health anxiety, soothing your body and mind will help reduce any current physical symptoms of anxiety, which can lessen some of your concerns about your health.

  • Numerous options exist for guided meditations.
  • On sites like YouTube, you can frequently find a lot of free possibilities.
  • There are other apps like Calm and Headspace accessible.
  • Find what works best for you and make an effort to meditate frequently.
  • Start by setting a daily goal of 5–10 minutes.

Confront Your Anxious Thoughts - A thought is not a fact. They don't have to be true or grounded in reality because they are merely thoughts. But when we obsess, we start to think that our thoughts are reality. Challenge your thoughts.

Nearly 30% of individuals have an anxiety disorder at some point in their life, making it the most prevalent of all mental illnesses.

However, there are a variety of efficient therapies for anxiety disorders. Most people who get treatment can live regular, fulfilling lives.

Childhood, adolescence, or adulthood traumatic events are frequently the start of anxiety disorders. Being subjected to stress and trauma when you're very young is probably going to have a significant effect.

Abuse, either physically or emotionally, is one experience that might set off anxiety issues.

Psychotherapy and medications are the two common approaches to treating anxiety disorders.

A combination of the two could work best together for you.

  • Excessive anxiety may be brought on by a major incident or a combination of lesser stressful life circumstances. A loss in the family, work stress, or persistent financial worries can all be factors.
  • Personality types. Anxiety disorders are more likely to affect some personality types than others.
  • Other associated mental health problems.

Although the median age of onset is 30, the variation of age at the time of onset is fairly wide.

Patients who claim that their GAD symptoms appeared later in life frequently state that a substantial stressful event in their lives was the cause of their symptoms.

For treating anxiety disorders, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is considered to be the most effective type of psychotherapy.

CBT, which is often a short-term therapy, focuses on teaching you specific techniques to reduce your symptoms and eventually resume the things you've put off due to worry.

Our top private health anxiety specialists in London

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