How Our Governments are Inducing Collective Hypochondria
Hypochondria is an anxiety-related psychological problem and is one of a group of symptoms or conditions that are driven by chronic anxiety. In hypochondria people attach existing (usually very high) chronic anxiety (anxiety is fear) and worries to their physical health. They imagine that they have something physically wrong with them and become preoccupied with it in an all-consuming way. The hypochondriac person fills most or all of their time with thinking and worrying about possible physical illnesses and symptoms, researches incessantly, self-diagnoses, goes to doctors repeatedly and gets themselves tested for conditions he or she imagine they have.
When people who suffer from hypochondria test negative for something they believe or worry they might have, they would either not believe the result and continue to go to doctors to get more tests, or they would move on to another imagined condition and the cycle would begin all over again.
Hypochondria is a compensatory behaviour, a kind of a crutch or strategy to try to manage or reduce chronic anxiety. It is similar to any addiction, and like addictions it is effective only up to a point. All addictions or compensatory behaviours also come with their own, usually heavy cost. Like all addictive/compensatory behaviours, hypochondria preoccupations and behaviours become a substitute for a real and full life and get in the way of healthy relationships with others. No one does well when all they do is survive and manage symptoms, and people who suffer from hypochondria or other addictions do instinctively feel that they are wasting their lives and abilities and are squandering their time.
The reason for chronic anxiety is likely to be trauma, or some other reason that can cause a lot of fear in people. This can include socio-economic factors, significant and frightening changes in the world around us, environmental issues, etc. But really serious chronic anxiety has its origins usually in something the person needs to address in themselves which the environment or life circumstances just make worse.
Hypochondriacs are either not ready yet, refuse to or are unable to look at the real reasons for their anxiety. Often people are not offered correct or useful information that they can use to help them understand what is going on with them. Neither are they offered the right approaches to help them recover. Both my profession and the medical profession are guilty of the latter.
Like all band aids and crutches, and similar to addictions, hypochondria itself becomes the problem and many try to ‘fix’ that, instead of addressing the real causes. This is likely to lead to more anxiety because the longer the real issue is left unacknowledged and is not attended to, the worse things become. At least 50% of the population suffer from some degree of trauma. It is a much higher percentage in countries or regions where there is war or endemic poverty, a wide gap between rich and poor, political instability, oppression and control, injustice, systemic discrimination, corruption, crime and other socio-economic-political problems. Trauma does not heal itself and its symptoms tend to get worse with age.
People who have hypochondria present to therapy when they’ve had enough and are exhausted by going through these endless cycles, when it becomes obvious this way of trying to manage or reduce anxiety is no longer effective, or when someone close sends them to therapy because they worry for them or they’ve had enough of the person’s behaviours.
Doctors are not usually helpful with this. Doctors in general are not trained to pay much attention to the mind. But if anxiety is recognised by the doctor, the person is likely to get medication for anxiety, which comes with its own set of problems because medication in mental health is not a cure. It is another attempt to manage or reduce symptoms with mixed results and effectiveness and with its own side effects. Most GP practices in the UK are private businesses and they are paid handsomely by the NHS for every patient visit, every test, every prescription and for any medical procedure they prescribe. Hypochondria is immensely profitable for pharmaceutical companies.
In the past couple of years, I have watched with dismay how our authorities have been deliberately trying to turn everyone into hypochondriacs. They have hyped up fears, have fostered a horrendous and persistent preoccupation with physical health and symptoms and the accompanied behaviours of incessant testing and making everyone worry all the time about being ill. This is reckless, negligent and it is already backfiring. It is in fact making those who already have trauma a great deal worse than they were.
In effect our governments have artificially and criminally generated an addiction that they expect everyone to adopt. They are trying to turn having this addiction into a right of passage into mainstream society. They have been largely successful, not because cvd is really that dangerous or because their measures are effective (which they are clearly not), but because most people suffer from chronic anxiety. This cvd hypochondriac preoccupation has provided a welcome distraction from whatever it is that is really frightening people.
But this has limited shelf-life and it will collapse. Partly because people realise that no number of tests or shots reduces their ever-increasing anxiety, and also because addictions are by definition unsustainable. As I mentioned above, they come with their own set of problems, which we are now seeing everywhere, not in the least in the field of mental health. As always, I have to conclude that governments, authorities and society in general are just not interested at all in mental health or in what we need to do well psychologically.
I believe that how people choose to behave around this cvd and what they are prepared to do is actually a test of character that many, sadly, are failing. I don’t judge people for feeling fear. I judge what they do when they feel it. I am not a hypochondriac and refuse to become one so that politicians can distract me from what is really going wrong in society and the world.
I have a real life to live, real work to do and real relationships to be involved in. I don’t need anything to distract me from how I feel or help me ‘manage’ it. My emotions are all welcome and are always a useful source of information that I need in order to make good decisions in my life.