Hint: Don't call Dr. Google ☎️
Like all of your posts, this one seems to come at exactly the right time. Thank you so much for your clear, sensible, and wise advice!
Thanks for this post! I have a fear of ovarian cancer because it is a silent disease whose symptoms can mask something innocuous. I had a relative die from this. I have had this checked and am fine but every twinge near there causes worry. I wonder if other women worry about this and if this would make for a good article from you ie. what to do to guard against these silent but serious illnesses.
I feel Lucy is educating her fans/patients how to manage health anxiety in such a way which must be appreciated. Health anxiety sounds to be a sort of disease itself so the best option is to snub it from the very beginning. If somebody becomes ill with proper medical treatment he/she can be cured.
Hence there is a dire need of hour to get rid of health anxiety as soon as possible. Kudos to Lucy
for educating patients so nicely!!
I appreciate this so much! I just started ERP for health-related OCD. I had this issue as a child and it was quiet for many years but came back full force during the pandemic and has then morphed into non-COVID health concerns. It’s frustrating for me, and I’m doing all the right things, but it’s helpful to know I’m not alone here. Super tricky to know what’s a legitimate health concern and what my brain is overreacting to: makes this a tough one to parse out!
Glad to come across this piece today, Lucy. Thank you! For me, health anxiety has its roots in complex childhood trauma, which my memoir explores. My hope is that in sharing a vulnerable story that charts a path to understanding through therapy and family enquiry my own (damaging) propensity to think the worst and look for disease where there is none might help others who face this daily struggle, too.
I feel far more in control of my anxiety now, but it's such a frightening thing; shameful too I think. I never wanted to admit that I experienced it because of the stigma. Anyway, excerpt one of my audiobook is available now and I'd love readers here to take a listen:
In a 9 year span my husband saw 9 different PCP's (we moved 3 times). #10 properly diagnosed the cause for his hypertension as hyperaldosteronism. In the meantime I obsessively studied all I could to help him (weightloss, exercise, diet). Since then I obsessively study all kinds of conditions: my grandson's drooling at age 4 with no concern from his pediatrician, my FBG's of 99 (for several years in a row) in spite of healthy diet and weight, just to name two. My recent (new to me) PCP refused to acknowledge my FBG concerns, telling me to relax, I'm fine. My mother, overweight and hypertensive, was on insulin in her 50s. She had cancer twice, the second one caused her death. I have lived in fear of diabetes my whole adult life, yet my PCP didn't offer more lab work to make sure I am not skinny fat/ NAFLD/ insulin resistant. I just found a new PCP. Time will tell. I am careful to accept only certain online sources.
Wonderful podcast with so much insight into the medical profession. So much wisdom. Thank you for sharing this podcast.
It's like you were over for coffee and a walk this weekend! This could not have come at a better time. I have shared that I am diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and the Pandemic brought me to my knees. I am fortunate that I have access to amazing mental healthcare, but it has been so hard. I was diagnosed with lung cancer (never smoked)a little over a year, out of the blue looking at something else! So grateful and yes it rocked my boat, but I was more afraid of COVID! The fear of a respiratory illness right now is still my go to health anxiety, go figure. I believe that it is the trauma inside that I felt early on as it felt like my responsibility to keep everyone I loved safe and healthy. What I have found works for me when these health fears come up is, "There is nothing for me to solve right now." I move on and just keep reminding myself of that in a kind way. Thank you for being you, for being an incredible doctor who walks through life with knowing the human body, spirit and heart is a beautiful and complex being!
Thank you for advising against asking Dr. Google, a go-to source for many health anxieties. The allure of misinformation out there for adults and for parents (especially) is alarming. Ditto to Dr. McBride’s advice to talk to your physician, and/or your pediatrician. They will gladly answer your questions.
This is one of many helpful posts and I look forward to the podcast. I moved to CA from NYC just before the unexpected Covid shutdown (2/20) to be nearer family and grandsons; it's been hard not to develop health anxiety after some medical crises. In addition to your advice over the years, I have found the Calm app to be helpful. And volunteering. Full disclosure, I knew you way back when you were in grade school and already a rising star. Congrats and Happy Thanksgiving.
My health anxiety is one of my biggest oppositions right now, to the point where I avoid doctors and modern day medicine out of fear of malpractice. I found solace in holistic and natural medication, but it feels good to read validating advice on such a swept-under-the-rug topic.
Thank you so much for writing such an informative piece! As someone who suffers from anxiety, the tips/advice you mentioned were helpful. Nowadays, people are so quick to turn to google and diagnose themselves based off what the internet says, but it is important to get proper medical attention and care.
Ugh Dr Lucy, this is me. During Covid I became so anxious that I’d accidentally expose someone to Covid and then they’d die and this has morphed into such high anxiety for me. Just reading this made me feel the tiniest better knowing that others are dealing with health anxieties. Thank you
The timing of this is incredible to me! I've been struggling with where to begin to find a new primary doctor that I feel is a good match with my emotional core as well as my physical body. I am due for my annual check up and wish you were here in NY! I know it might be a stretch, but do you have any recommendations in the NY area? Thank you for all you do. Though I'd love to avoid ever bringing up the dark pandemic days, you and Dr. Monica Gandhi saved lives and souls with your wise and generous information on social media during the toughest times. That in itself has promoted well-being in me and I'm so grateful to believe I can trust real science and health advisors again. It is SO much appreciated! :)