Tackling Health Anxiety: A CBT Handbook

Author(s) : Helen Tyrer

Tackling Health Anxiety: A CBT Handbook

Book Details

  • Publisher : RCPsych Publications
  • Published : 2013
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 150
  • Category :
    Cognitive-Behavioural Therapies
  • Catalogue No : 36344
  • ISBN 13 : 9781908020901
  • ISBN 10 : 1908020903
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Patients suffering health anxiety have an obsessive preoccupation with the idea that they are (or will be) experiencing a physical illness; they are convinced that harmless physical symptoms are indicators of serious disease or severe medical conditions. Since medical tests usually prove the symptoms to be medically unexplained, in fact, it is the worry and mental distress itself that is causing the physical symptoms. Symptoms may include headaches that are interpreted by the patient to be a potential brain tumour; chest tightening believed to be a heart attack; pains that are thought to be cancer; repeated visits to one, or more, doctors, or to A&E; continual checking of their own body. Health anxiety is very common indeed but it often goes undetected, especially in medical settings where people are constantly looking for evidence of physical disease.

This book explains how to use cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) in order to treat health anxiety in ordinary clinical practice. It is a straightforward account of how to adapt the well known principles of CBT for this purpose. It covers: how to understand and recognise health anxiety; how to separate the problems of anxiety from those of physical illness; the basic principles of engaging patients and introducing therapy; and case examples to illustrate the approach and techniques. The book examines how to introduce the psychological treatment sensitively in order to overcome the problem that many people with health anxiety are more concerned with having further tests and investigations to exclude physical illness than addressing their mental worries about health.

The book is intended primarily for general practitioners and nurses in primary care. It will also be useful for liaison psychiatrists and, to some extent, for all healthcare professionals.

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