Hypochondriacs are personality types who have a fear of sickness. It can be sickness in general or a specific illness and in severe hypochondriacs, this fear can be debilitating to the extent of interfering with their day to day life, check this great travel vaccinations. If you know a genuine hypochondriac you will understand how difficult it is to interact with them socially, as their lives are consumed by this abiding fear of falling ill. They also feel symptoms which they may or may not actually have and will forever be channelling various doctors for it. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, hypochondriac personalities are a mainstay in our society, so here some tips to dealing with them:
Humour their Idiosyncrasies
It may be a bit tiring to listen to their endless discussions and descriptions of every (imagined or real) illness they have or fear to have. But not all hypochondriacs are consumed by this aspect of themselves; in many of them, it only activates in the presence of whatever triggers their ‘illness.’ Therefore your best recourse is to indulge in their worries to the best of your abilities. Don’t encourage them or fan the fire as hypochondriacs can easily jump to the worst case scenario in seconds. Instead, listen to their views, humour them, and offer explanations or empathy to soothe them. Being a hypochondriac is an emotional effect and sufferers therefore understand intellectually that they have nothing to worry about, but are powerless over their reaction.
Indulge Some Harmless Reactions
Hypochondriacs expect others to share in their rather overt reactions to even a small event, such as a scratch on a nail. If you cannot calm them down in any way, indulge their outburst to a limited extent, perhaps by taking them to consult general practitioners who can give a general overview of their health at a much less price than consultants and specialists.
If this is a frequent episode, have some general practitioners who are regulars who can monitor your friend for actual symptoms. In some rare cases, hypochondriacs have been disregarded even through actual symptoms as they have been “crying wolf” before. Such situations can be avoided with proper care.
Get Them Help
In extreme cases, hypochondriac behaviour can lead to obsessive compulsive disorder, especially when indulged too much by doting friends and family or left unregulated and unmediated by reality. In that case, psychiatric help is necessary in order to enable the hypochondriac to live a normal life. Symptoms such as constantly scrubbing their hands with soap, bleaching their surroundings, carrying antiseptics on their person etc. can point to extreme forms of hypochondriac behaviour and can be managed with regular treatment.