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Health anxiety

Health anxiety (sometimes called hypochondria) is when you spend so much time worrying you're ill, or about getting ill, that it starts to take over your life.

Check if you have health anxiety

You may have health anxiety if you:

Anxiety itself can cause symptoms like headaches or a racing heartbeat, and you may mistake these for signs of illness.

Self-help for health anxiety

Keep a diary

Challenge your thoughts

Keep busy with other things

Get back to normal activities

Try to relax

For more tips, see Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust's self-help guide for health anxiety (PDF, 1.49Mb).

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • your worries about your health are preventing you leading a normal life and self-help isn't working

If the GP diagnoses you with health anxiety, they may refer you for a psychological therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or offer you a medicine for anxiety.

You can also refer yourself directly for psychological therapies.

Find a psychological therapies service in your area

More help for health anxiety