What makes hypochondria hypochondriac

Hypochondria: The exaggerated fear of disease is curable

These dysfunctional beliefs can also be copied. For example, if the mother tended to fear illness in the past, this can spread to the child. Genetic influences play a subordinate role here. Rather, it is a life-long acquired disorder characterized by cognitive distortions.

Hypochondria can be cured in more than 70 percent

The good news: a hypochondriac disorder is treatable without any problems. A specific form of psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, is the most well-studied and most effective treatment for hypochondriac disorder. The chances of success are high: "In more than 70 percent, a cure is possible," says Winfried Rief. He is professor of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at the Philipps University of Marburg and one of the leading researchers in the field of psychosomatics.

"In therapy, it is important to change the harmful beliefs," says Rief. “The patient has to learn that occasional complaints are part of a healthy body.” The therapist and the person affected would jointly open their eyes to other explanations: “Can my headache also be due to the fact that I am stressed, have not drunk enough or have been up for hours Staring at the screen? ”To reduce the fixation on the anticipated catastrophe, the therapist and patient sometimes also work out how life could go on even with serious ailment. "In addition, those affected have often forgotten how to calm themselves down when fears arise, which is why they seek solace outside - with the doctor or partner who should assure them that everything is fine."

"I would only recommend relaxation procedures under the guidance of a doctor or psychologist who can relieve any fears."
(Winfried Rief, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy)

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you deal better with stress and negative emotions. Therapists use relaxation exercises such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation or body scans. But be careful - relaxation exercises can also backfire. "People with fears of illness initially perceive body sensations more intensely than usual when they are at rest, so I would only recommend relaxation procedures under the guidance of a doctor or psychologist who can counter any fears," warns Rief.

What is also good: sport. Many of those affected take it easy on themselves, become less resilient and lose their stamina. They interpret the resulting shortness of breath as confirmation of their poor condition. Those who do sport, on the other hand, strengthen the body and repeatedly create moments of success for themselves, no matter how small they are.

When Sebastian Kraemer suddenly lost a lot of hair, his relationship to his body deteriorated increasingly. The time had come to seek psychotherapeutic help. In rehab he slowly learned to trust his body again. Today he is fine again. Since then he has been encouraging other affected people with his story on the blog psog.de and advising people who suffer from fears. “The crisis at the time was a turning point in my life. Before that, I lacked orientation, now I'm happy with my job and my family, ”he remarks in retrospect. "Still, it was a very bad time, and I don't wish anyone these fears."