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Therapeutic Strategies for Managing Illness Anxiety



Even though it might be frightening and stressful at times, illness anxiety is manageable. Certain widely-utilized treatment techniques may be useful in helping patients who are experiencing intrusive and compulsive thoughts over their physical state of health. The seven therapeutic interventions listed below can be used to assist these clients.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

For anxiety disorders, particularly Illness Anxiety Disorder (IAD), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is arguably the best option. It helps clients to question and challenge the conclusions that drive their worry, which makes it possible to gather information that refutes the anxious thought.

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)

REBT is a CBT derivative that emphasizes “unconditional acceptance” of oneself, one’s life, and one’s circumstances from a logical perspective as opposed to an emotive one. REBT trains customers to “dispute” illogical ideas in order to reach a more rational, practical conclusion about a given circumstance. Since worried cognitive habits frequently lack reason, REBT helps in restoring and fostering a more constructive, alternative perspective on a given circumstance.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT assists patients with seeing as a mental “middle ground” between the feeling driven mind and the rationale situated mind. Since uneasiness is most frequently feeling based, it will in general disregard rationale and levelheaded reasoning. This resolve can bring about unfortunate conduct reactions. Mastering and carrying out DBT abilities can help clients in enduring sensations of uneasiness as opposed to responding sincerely to them. On account of IAD, on the off chance that a client figures out how to slow their insight following an awkward inclination, they have a more prominent chance to use rationale to show up at a proper social reaction. For the IAD patient, this might mean the distinction between looking for superfluous crisis care and having a more sensible reaction, like booking a specialist’s visit sooner rather than later. DBT trains clients to work and answer from their “Savvy Psyche,” the solid cross-over of the close to home brain and the levelheaded mind.

Somatic Therapy

Everything having to do with the body is referred to as somatic, which is Latin meaning “of or pertaining to the body.” A variety of body-based modalities, including meditation, yoga, physical activity, dance or movement therapy, breathing techniques, and massage, are included under the general heading of somatic therapy. Somatic therapy is a useful tool for those with IAD because it emphasizes the significance of the brain-body link. A therapist or counselor can typically instruct a client in somatic therapy techniques.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

It is a Buddhist belief that anxiety “lives in the future,” and the importance of mindfulness and presence in the moment cannot be overstated in the treatment of IAD. Mindfulness teaches clients to replace “what if” with “what is.” In the case example given above, “what if” sounds like “My chest feels tight and that means I’m going to have a heart attack,” whereas “what is” sounds like “My chest feels tight right now in this moment.” The “what is” thought is simply an acknowledgment of what is happening, without an attached assumption or conclusion. Through acknowledgment of our feeling in the moment, we are able to “be with” our feelings rather than respond emotionally or behaviorally to them.

Narrative Therapy (NT)

Though it forbids us from concentrating on any one aspect of the story, narrative therapy encourages us to see our lives as a story. We frequently have a concentrated focus on the “problem story,” the portion of the bigger story that is impacted by our difficulties and troubles. The New Testament exhorts us to see our life stories from a wider, more comprehensive perspective, appreciating and celebrating both the easy and successful portions as well as the difficult and problematic ones. By using this method, we start to perceive our personal stories as multifaceted instead of flat. Anxiety becomes only part of the story, not the whole story, for the anxious individual.

Imaginal Exposure Therapy

A gradual return to the activities and situations that have produced anxiety or avoidance might be facilitated by visualizing and envisioning the scenarios that fear us. This can help us start to feel comfortable again. An experienced therapist could lead a client who avoids care, for instance, through a fictitious visit to the doctor. The exercise may start to restore safety and comfort about the circumstance in the worried client’s mind because the visualization is conducted within the secure walls of the therapy office, eventually leading to a return to the real scenario. A client is frequently able to safely return to a previously fearful scenario in real life once they have successfully visualized doing so.


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