Illness Anxiety Disorder - Dr. Carolyn Dean MD ND

Illness Anxiety Disorder

June 10, 2018

I have about a dozen blog topics lined up but often a headline will hit me like a ton of bricks and I have to blog about it immediately. Illness anxiety disorder is one of those blockbuster blogs that I have to write.

What is Illness anxiety disorder? According to allopathetic medicine, it’s hypochondriasis with a fancy new name. But I think this fancy new name effectively mislabels anxiety/panic disorder sufferers as hypochondriacs.

There are lots of definitions of hypochondriasis online. For example: A disorder characterized by a preoccupation with body functions and the interpretation of normal body sensations (such as sweating) or minor abnormalities (such as minor aches and pains) as portending problems of major medical moment.

The following Medscape article and quiz Are You Prepared to Treat Patients With Illness Anxiety Disorder? was a bit of a shock because I didn’t even know it was a new term for hypochondriasis. The article said that IAD “is among the more difficult, more challenging, and most complex psychiatric disorders to treat in the general medical setting.” One so-called fact that really bothered me is that medicine finds that only 1/3rd of people can be helped with this condition.

With such an article posed as a teaching quiz, we have doctors being “educated” to associate anxiety with hypochondriasis, which they say is essentially incurable. IAD patients are treated for their underlying anxiety and depression – with medications, of   course and nothing is done to look at the underlying causes.

My question is, what if people are anxious because they know something is wrong, something is missing in their body and they feel it but they can’t get any answers. And now, if doctors think they are just hypochondriacs, their patronizing attitude will just make patients even more anxious because they are not being heard.

We went through the same scenario when doctors denied that chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia existed. Unaware doctors diagnosed every case I saw as a hypochondriac! One arrogant internist in Toronto said that he couldn’t believe how hard these patients fought to have their disease! NO, that’s not what was happening, these capable (mostly) women were demanding to be heard and acknowledged and treated.

Allopathic medicine all too often takes the lazy and cowardly route and simply dismisses patients who they can’t diagnose or who challenge the doctor to take them and their condition seriously.

I’m saying that most people can sense when something is wrong with them and when a doctor dismisses their concerns they can get more vocal and demanding, which makes the doctor dismiss them even more. It’s a vicious cycle. But I know that underlying nutrient deficiencies and yeast overgrowth make a person feel off balance. If at that point they start taking magnesium, B vitamins, drinking more sea salted water, and treating yeast overgrowth – they can start to feel better and restore balance to their body. Otherwise symptoms escalate and because doctors avoid testing for magnesium and yeast overgrowth, misdiagnosis abounds.

If my words echo your experience or that of a friend, take heart and find out more about mineral deficiency and yeast overgrowth on my website.

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Carolyn Dean MD ND

The Doctor of the Future®

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