What is Hypochondriasis?

The diagnosis of hypochondria must be given with caution and only when medical exams fail to point a real illness. An increased number of visits to the medical doctor, requests for second or third opinion regarding a disease the client believes is the cause of his symptoms (despite test results that show no relevant problems) or exaggerated preoccupation towards one’s health (nor sustained by medical data) can be indicators of hypochondria.

The signs and symptoms of hypochondria may be: an increased fear of illness, misinterpretation of normal bodily functions or harmless symptoms (such as a running nose, heart beats, sweating, small sores etc.), symptoms that shift or change, vague or specific symptoms, no apparent physical disorder that can explain the symptoms, at least six months of persistent disturbance.
Although the exact causes of this illness are not known, the risk factors include having a serious disease during childhood, the loss of a loved one, anxiety disorders, knowing persons with serious health problems, the belief that being in good health means that you are free of all physical symptoms and sensations, having members of the family that suffer from hypochondria and feeling vulnerable to illness.
Also, looking up (in books or over the internet) information on different symptoms or disease reinforces behaviors that make hypochondria persist or evolve. This disorder affects both men and women equally.
Hypochondria may be associated with other psychiatric disorders, such as major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder. It affects men and women equally.

Usually, this is a chronic disorder due to the fact that the client addresses first to medical doctors and only later seeks psychological help. However, starting the treatment earlier in the evolution might increase the rate of success. The options of treatment are psychotherapy and medication. Studies have shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy is more effective for hypochondria.
Understanding and recognizing the false or irrational beliefs that cause the health anxiety are key-points in the process of healing. The client will also learn to stop those behaviors that increase anxiety level, such as body vigilance (constantly paying attention to your bodily functions and problems that might occur).
Antidepressant medication may help during the treatment, but must be used with caution because the side effects can actually increase health anxiety.The impact hypochondria has on your life can be reduced by early recognition of the problem and getting the proper treatment method (and sticking to it!).


What is Impulse?

Deferred gratification, also known as impulse control, is an example of this, concerning impulses primarily relating to things that a person wants or desires.
In recent years, studies have linked impulsiveness to higher risks of smoking, drinking and drug abuse. People who attempt suicide score highly on measures of impulsivity, as do adolescents with eating problems. Aggression, compulsive gambling, severe personality disorders and attention deficit problems are all associated with high impulsiveness, a problem that affects an estimated 9 percent of Americans, according to a nationwide mental health survey completed last year.
Now researchers have begun to resolve the contrary nature of impulsivity, identifying the elements that distinguish benign experimentation from self-destructive acts. The latest work, in brain research and psychological studies, helps explain how impulsive tendencies develop and when they can lead people astray. A potent combination of genes and emotionally disorienting early experiences puts people at high risk, as do some very familiar personal instincts.
“What we’re seeing now,” said Charles S. Carver, a psychologist at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., “is a rapid convergence of evidence indicating that when the prefrontal cortical areas of the brain, the brain’s supervisory management system, are not functioning well, this interferes with deliberative behavior, and the consequences are often unpleasant.”
Few experts dispute that impulsiveness pays off in some situations and, perhaps, had evolutionary benefits. When life is short and dangerous, and resources are scarce, there is a premium on quick response. In studies of baboons and monkeys, researchers have found that animals that are impulsive as adolescents often become dominant as adults, when they moderate their confrontational urges.
In humans, impulsive behavior typically peaks in adolescence, when the prefrontal areas of the brain continue to develop, or soon after, in the young adult years, when it is culturally expected that people will test their limits, psychologists have found.
Yet new research suggests that a taste for danger or conflict is not enough to produce persistent, ruinous impulsivity.

What is Intellectualisation?

Jargon is often used as a device of intellectualization. By using complex terminology, the focus becomes on the words and finer definitions rather than the human effects.
A person told they have cancer asks for details on the probability of survival and the success rates of various drugs. The doctor may join in, using ‘carcinoma’ instead of ‘cancer’ and ‘terminal’ instead of ‘fatal’.
A woman who has been raped seeks out information on other cases and the psychology of rapists and victims. She takes self-defense classes in order to feel better (rather than more directly addressing the psychological and emotional issues).
A person who is in heavily debt builds a complex spreadsheet of how long it would take to repay using different payment options and interest rates.
Intellectualization protects against anxiety by repressing the emotions connected with an event. It is also known as ‘Isolation of affect’ as the affective elements are removed from the situation.
Freud believed that memories have both conscious and unconscious aspects, and that intellectualization allows for the conscious analysis of an event in a way that does not provoke anxiety.
Intellectualization is one of Freud’s original defense mechanisms.
When people treat emotionally difficult situations in cold and logical ways, it often does not mean that they are emotionally stunted, only that they are unable to handle the emotion at this time. You can decide to give them space now so they can maintain their dignity, although you may also decide to challenge them in a more appropriate time and setting.
When you challenge a person who is intellectualizing, they may fight back (which is attack, another form of defense) or switch to other forms of defense.

What is Displacement?

The origin of displacement begins in the mind. It works the mind unconsciously and entails feelings, concepts, or desires being transported from their basic object to a more satisfactory alternative. It is most often utilized to alleviate stress. Our basic instinct is to dispel anxiety and this is a way to cope with it.

Displacement can behave in a domino effect , with individuals unknowingly becoming both the target and predators of displacement. In reproaching hostility is displaced onto people with little or no bond with what is causing anger.

There are many examples of psychological displacement. For example, a woman is confronted by her boss. Her boss begins yelling at her in front of other employees. Rather than, confront her boss about the outburst, she returns home and spews at her children. She enters the home in a bad mood. Even though the children had nothing to do the situation, she feels more comfortable expressing her frustration to them. This kind of conduct is not beneficial and can be quite harmful to the children.

A young man may exhibit aggression when he comes home from school. This is because he was picked on all day. Since he did not express his emotions to the people who were picking on him, he has built up anger. By the time he gets home, he is very angry. The moment his mother asks him a question, he feels the need to displace his anger on her. For example, she asks him ” How are you?” He replies by saying ” How do you think?” ” That is a stupid question.” His mother may be perplexed by his sudden rudeness, but once he explains what he went through at school, she will understand.

Displacement is a defense mechanism we all use to cover up what is going on. It is also a way for many people to protect certain peolple from sudden explosions of anger. As people, we choose who we want to express ourselves to. If we are in a position of employment, very rarely do we want to get irrate with the employer. This would be risking too much.

What is Neurosis?


Neurosis, according to Sigmund Freud, arose from inner conflicts and could lead to anxiety. In his formulation, the causal factors could be found roughly in the first six years of life, when the personality, or ego, is weak and afraid of censure. He attributed neurosis to the frustration of infantile sexual drives, as when severe eating and toilet habits and other restrictions are parentally imposed, which appear in adulthood as neurotic symptoms .

Other authorities have emphasized constitutional and organic factors. Among the psychoanalysts, Alfred Adler and H. S. Sullivan stressed social determinants of personal adjustment, and Karen Horney emphasized insecurity in childhood as causes of neurosis.

Until 1980, neuroses included anxiety disorders as well as a number of other mild mental illnesses, such as hysteria and hypochondria. Anxiety disorders are fairly common, and generally involve a feeling of apprehension with no obvious, immediate cause. Such intense fears of various situations may be severe enough to prevent individuals from conducting routine activities. Phobias, the most common type of anxiety disorder, involve specific situations which cause irrational anxiety attacks.

For instance, an individual with agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) may be too anxious to leave their house. Obsessive-compulsive disorder occurs when an individual relentlessly pursues a thought or action in order to relieve anxiety.

Panic disorder is characterized by anxiety in the form of panic attacks, while generalized anxiety disorder occurs when an individual experiences chronic anxiety with no apparent explanations for the anxiety. Post-traumatic stress disorder, occurring in the wake of a particularly traumatic event, can lead to severe flashbacks and a lack of responsiveness to stimuli. Anxiety disorders are usually accompanied by a variety of defense mechanisms, which are employed in an attempt to overcome anxiety. Hypochondriasis and hysteria (now generally known as conversion disorder) are classified today as somatoform disorders, and involve physical symptoms of psychological distress.

The hypochondriac fears that minor bodily disturbances indicate serious, often terminal, disease, while the individual suffering from conversion disorder experiences a bodily disturbance-such as paralysis of a limb, blindness, or deafness-with no clear biological origin. Treatment of neurosis may include behavior therapy to condition an individual to change neurotic habits, psychotherapy, and group psychotherapy. Various drugs may also be employed to alleviate symptoms.