Illness Anxiety Diagnostic Criteria:
- Preoccupation with having or acquiring a serious illness.
- Somatic symptoms are not present or, if present, are only mild in intensity. If another medical condition is present or there is a high risk for developing a medical condition (e.g., strong family history is present), the preoccupation is clearly excessive or disproportionate.
- The individual performs excessive health-related behaviors (e.g., repeatedly checks his or her body for signs of illness) or exhibits maladaptive avoidance (e.g., avoids doctor appointments and hospitals).
- Illness preoccupation has been present for at least 6 months, but the specific illness that is feared may change over that period of time.
- The illness-related preoccupation is not better explained by another mental disorder, such as somatic symptom disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or delusional disorder, somatic type.
CBT for Illness Anxiety entails:
- Psycho-education regarding the brain on illness anxiety
- Cognitive therapy to observe, challenge and get unstuck from illness related catastrophic thoughts
- Exposure therapy to illness related anxiety triggers including assisting clients in obtaining needed but avoided medical procedures
Needle Phobia is triggered when an individual comes in contact with or witnesses any type of injury or injection that results in exposure to blood.
- Extreme fear of anxiety related to the sight of blood, the anticipation of physical injury, or the anticipation of an injection
- Feared object or situation is actively avoided or endured with extreme distress, fainting or panic
- Fear of object or situation causes clinically significant emotional distress and/or functional impairment
Light On Anxiety’s Needle & Blood Injury Phobia treatment combines psychoeducational, cognitive and exposure therapy as well as applied tension to rewire your brain to diminish your fear response when you make contact with feared stimuli such as needles, the sight of blood, and other health procedures.
- Psychoeducational entails learning why your brain and body react with an extreme fear when you think about or make contact with blood or needles or related stimuli.
- Cognitive therapy entails identifying your inaccurate thoughts and beliefs associated with your needle and blood injury anxiety and then developing more accurate counter thoughts you can offer yourself.
- Exposure therapy entails creating a fear ladder, ranging from 1 (least distress) to 10 (highest distress), of blood and/or needle anxiety triggering objects, events, or situations. Light On Anxiety will work with you to gradually expose yourself to these objects, events, or situations.
- Applied tension is a behavioral technique that intentionally increases your blood pressure immediately before and during the feared event (such as giving blood or getting a shot). The increase in blood pressure will counter your natural physiological inclination to experience an acute drop in pressure, which can prevent fainting and other troubling symptoms associated with needle and blood injury phobia.