Hypochondria and Substance Abuse

Hypochondria and Substance AbuseHypochondria (or hypochondriasis) is a condition that causes people to worry excessively about their physical health and serious illnesses. It is also referred to as health anxiety, and as such is related to anxiety disorders. Many people dismiss or downplay hypochondria, but people with this disease feel real pain and suffer from debilitating fear. In fact, in 2010 Psychology Today’s website published the article “Hypochondria: The Impossible Illness” to share that “being a hypochondriac can be crippling. It’s not a joke.” It is also common, as “one of twenty Americans who visit doctors suffer from the disorder.” While hypochondria can disrupt mental health and happiness, it can also encourage substance abuse and addiction, so seek professional help if you struggle with one or both of these issues.

Drug Abuse and Hypochondria

Hypochondriacs are at risk for substance abuse and addiction, because the disorder may encourage people to take drugs to address their fears. While it may seem odd for people to abuse drugs when they have a condition that makes them health conscious, hypochondriacs may be tempted to self-medicate symptoms they believe they have, or they may take drugs to quell their anxiety about health, life and death. “Alcohol Dependence Syndrome: Measurement and Validation” from the Journal of Abnormal Psychology discusses a study of alcoholics that finds “the degree of alcohol dependence was directly related to psychopathology (thinking disorder, hypochondriasis, persecutory ideas, anxiety, depression).” This means that people with mental health concerns have greater risks not only for substance abuse, but also for more severe substance abuse. The Journal of Head and Face Pain also reports that people who experience headaches related to excessive medication use score higher on hypochondria scales.

Integrated Treatment for Hypochondria and Substance Abuse

Co-occurring mental health concerns and substance abuse requires Dual Diagnosis treatment, or addressing both problems at the same time. This diagnosis allows patients to understand the challenges they face and to seek the help that will best prepare them for long-term recovery. Integrated treatment staffs mental health professionals and addiction recovery specialists who collaborate to individualize treatment, meaning each patient gets personalized care to address her unique needs. This type of treatment helps patients address the causes of both issues, which helps them have a better, healthy future.

Find Help for Hypochondria and Substance Abuse

If you or a loved one struggles with hypochondria and drug abuse, then please call our toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to connect you with the most appropriate resources for your personal recovery needs. They can assess your problems, connect you with interventionists or find one of the country’s best rehab programs for you. Don’t wait to get help, because we are here for you right now.