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Does obsession with wellness make us hypochondriacs?

Tips for getting better overwhelm us, and we feel worse and worse....

Does obsession with wellness make us hypochondriacs? Tips for getting better overwhelm us, and we feel worse and worse....

Humans have always worried about their health. It's obvious when you think about it: we want to stay well for as long as possible, in the best way possible; we want to live to a very old age in good health; we fear diseases. This fear of getting sick - which is normal, almost animalistic, echoing the spirit of survival - becomes a real disease when it turns obsessive. This disease is called hypochondria, leading to an obsession with one's body and extreme worry about contracting a serious illness. With Covid and the wellness industry, has it worsened in recent times?

Hypochondria in the Words of Caroline Crampton

Caroline Crampton has written a book on this condition titled A Body Made of Glass: A History of Hypochondria, exploring its cultural and social origins and connotations. According to her, it was only in the early 19th century that hypochondria was understood as a condition of the mind rather than the body. This understanding persists today, but it is not a new condition. However, some recent developments have made it more widespread and persistent. Let's try to understand which ones.

Hypochondria and Covid

A 2020 study conducted on US students highlights that health-related anxiety is steadily rising, from 8.67% in 1985 to 15.22% in 2017. Imagine today. It’s impossible to ignore the effect - whether conscious or unconscious - of the pandemic on our thought patterns, our way of living, and moving in the world. Such an exceptional (and negative) event has created deep wounds in how we manage our health and the danger of getting sick, as studies and statistics confirm. There's even talk of Covid anxiety syndrome, making it harder to sleep, attend crowded events, and even be productive at work, and which, by name, causes depression and anxiety.

@kaitlyn_3503 My parents and bf hate me #helpme #hypochondriac #healthanxiety Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses Theme - Fairy Lullaby

Is the Wellness Industry Making Us Obsessive?

The wellness and wellbeing industry, although it should, does not help at all. The advice and products are increasingly specific, and what we are asked to monitor and improve is more and more specialized. Gut flora, obsession with all the ways we can optimize sleep and rest, abuse of supplements. It practically becomes a full-time job, and we are bombarded with new advice all the time, while the sector grows uncontrollably, ready to sell us anything. Being healthy today doesn’t just mean not being ill, but becomes a continuous project to constantly work on. As Crampton says to Dazed: "Wellness culture encourages people to view their health as a perpetual work in progress and to be constantly monitoring how they feel - two things that can heighten anxiety and preoccupation with illness. Instead of appreciating our health, we are encouraged to always strive for more, to constantly improve ourselves." If the advice is unrealistic, it's even worse: and anxiety rises.

@thehealthanxietygirl 3 tips for hypochondriacs

Is Health a Rich People’s Thing?

And here we come to the second point. The more eccentric the requirements for being well are, the more they tend to cost. Isn’t that red light machine a bit too much? The Kardashians undergoing preventive MRIs have raised the bar to levels unattainable for most people. What happens if we can’t afford it? It almost seems that health - or rather, this over-publicized and exaggerated aspect of perfect health, achievable only by doing something extra, and at a high price - has become something reserved for wealthy people. Adding to this is the increasingly prevalent privatization of National Health Systems, in Italy and beyond, and the situation is set.

@drjencaudle Kris Jenner Got a Whole Body Scan #mri #krisjenner #kuwtk #kimkardashian #kardashianshulu #cancer #fyp #fyp #drjencaudle Afrobeat - FASSounds

A Realistic and Anxiety-Free Idea of Wellness

The creation of needs and concerns that previously did not exist to push consumers or potential customers to buy products or services is at the core of the economic system we live in. However, when it comes to health, things get even more serious. Impossible wellness standards can cause hypochondria, anxiety, and obsession, and should not be taken lightly. Our advice? Avoid self-medication and consult doctors, even specialists, who can reassure us if we fear something is wrong and guide us towards the right treatments and therapies if something is indeed wrong. Monitoring our health is not a bad thing; doing it based on often pseudo-scientific and improvised advice we read on the web, however, is.