Although it's not always easy to overcome a fear of illness, it can be done. Hypochondriasis, the medical name for the fear of becoming ill, often causes a person to worry excessively and obsessively about developing a disease. The problem may cause the hypochondriac to either visit doctors constantly or be so embarrassed about having a fear of illness, that he or she may avoid necessary visits to physicians. If you are afraid of becoming ill and it is negatively affecting your life, you may be able to overcome this fear by applying a few simple, yet important, steps.
First, you will need to realize that you have a problem. Do research about hypochondriasis and how to overcome it. One thing you should refrain from doing is researching different medical conditions and diseases. This activity is likely to make the hypochondriac imagine he or she has a serious illness no matter how rare the disease may be. An important thing to do is find out from your health care provider, or other source, the list of exams and tests you should have done; you can then write the dates in your calendar and focus on these as proper ways of monitoring your health.
Second, develop healthy eating and exercise habits. Rather than checking yourself constantly for disease symptoms, create a healthy living plan to help you actually avoid many of the risks associated with disease. By knowing that you're eating healthier foods, it can at least ease your mind partially about a fear of illness. Consider taking up healthy fitness activities. Engaging in a new sport you love may not only give you greater peace of mind in knowing that you're lessening your risk of disease by being fit, but also help you enjoy life more.
Third, as you try to keep to your schedule of necessary medical tests and exams, write down any questions you have before you go. Doing this can help you focus on rational topics rather than irrational fears. Try to find understanding medical professionals. Communicate that you do have a fear of illness, but are trying to overcome the problem.
Chances are, if you confess you're trying to overcome being a hypochondriac, doctors will be much more willing to keep you in the know about your state of health so you don't worry unnecessarily. If you spend a few months trying to overcome your hypochondriasis, but don't seem to be showing any improvement, then you should ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist for help. Look for a psychologist experienced in treating people with health phobias such as fear of illness.