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This section will teach you a little about each of the disorders that we diagnose and treat.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Panic Disorder With and Without Agoraphobia
- Specific Phobia
- Health Related Anxiety
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Trichotillomania and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Health Related Anxiety
Many adults suffer from fears about being seriously ill, or even terminally ill, when no symptoms of serious illness exist. They misinterpret normal bodily sensations or physical symptoms as being dangerous and life threatening. Reassurance from friends, spouses, diagnostic testing or reassurance from health care professionals may provide temporary relief, but the fears return anyway. Those who suffer from health related anxiety may have one of several of the anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder or OCD, however, the main content of their fears is hypervigilance for symptoms of serious illness and repetitive reassurance seeking in order to allay their fears. These patients may make many unnecessary visits to the doctor. They may repeatedly undergo unnecessary medical testing and procedures. Paradoxically, some with these health related concerns may end up avoiding any contact with health care providers for fear that they receive bad news.
Treatment for health related anxiety includes cognitive therapy to learn to tolerate uncertainty about health status and physical sensations, exposure therapy and imaginal flooding to learn to tolerate feared thoughts about death and illness. Interoceptive exposure is used to help patients learn to stop dreading changes in physical sensations.
Staff at AATC have specialized experience in helping patients overcome health related anxiety so that they can learn to enjoy their good health and stop fearing bad health, disability or terminal illness. They will help patients learn when it is appropriate to contact their health care providers and when to seek out health related information. We will also work with your health care provider to help them know how to best help you when your health fears become problematic.