Overcoming Health Anxiety/Hypochondriasis


Worrying  Too Much About Health & Physical Symptoms

Health anxiety happens because people catastrophically misinterpret health related information.  e.g. a lump in the breast or testes MUST be cancer, forgetting someone’s name MUST be a symptom of dementia.
(N.B. Of course anyone who finds a lump in their breast or testes should consult their doctor to rule out cancer).
Health anxiety sufferers may become worried by:
  • reading articles or seeing programs about diseases
  • knowing someone who has a disease
  • things they observe about their own body, their physical symptoms, etc.


Hypochondriasis / health anxiety can lead to people

  • visiting their doctor far more times a year than is warranted, seeking reassurance about their symptoms
  • seeking multiple medical opinions for the same physical symptoms/conditions
  • suffering insomnia, having difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep because of their excessive worrying
  • seeking expensive diagnostic tests which are not warranted and even undergoing diagnostic procedures repeatedly
  • developing unhelpful behaviours such as avoiding exercise, resting excessively, taking unnecessary drugs, avoiding medical information
  • making their health a major topic of conversation
  • annoying their friends and relatives by repeatedly seeking reassurance regarding their health
  • spending hours on the internet researching their physical and /or mental symptoms, possible diagnoses and treatments


Health Anxiety / Hypochondria Symptoms

  • Sufferers worry that they have a serious disease as they misinterpret their physical and/or mental  symptoms.
  • Health anxiety sufferers continue to worry even after consulting their doctor and being given reassurance.
  • Hypochondriacs suffer much distress or are impaired in their ability to function at work, or socially.
  • The excessive worrying about health has persisted for at least 6 months
  • The worrying about health cannot be attributed to another disorder such as: generalised anxiety, OCD, panic disorder, depression , separation anxiety etc.


Jacob’s story

Jacob, a relative, rang me because he was convinced he had testicular cancer. He based his self diagnosis on the fact he had pain in his testes. I googled testicular pain and found that there were over 100 possible diagnoses (some of them serious, some not).
One of the least serious diagnoses was a testicular infection so I suggested to him that perhaps he only had an infection. He went to  his doctor and found that he did in fact have an infection, however he was highly stressed and catastrophising that he had cancer until he was given the all clear from the doctor.
However, his relief was short lived, as then he started worrying that the doctor may have misdiagnosed him.
Names have been changed


How to Stop Being a Hypochondriac

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a Treatment Option.

Cognitive behavioural treatment involves:

  • Self monitoring
  • Identifying  and challenging negative thoughts
  • Modifying abnormal illness related behaviours. e.g. checking, reassurance seeking
  • Identifying and correcting core beliefs using  disputation and behavioural experiments


Attention training and worry postponement may also be part of treatment for health anxiety.


You can consult a  clinical psychologist for help with health anxiety.

If you have symptoms relating to Hypochondriasis consulting a clinical psychologist can help. Call a Melbourne clinical psychologist  on 0429 88 3671 and start feeling better.


Please note:

Face to face sessions are still available.

Medicare is also funding telehealth sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online or telephone sessions are bulk billed for Commonwealth concession card holders.

All Australians can get a Medicare rebate for  either face to face or telehealth sessions if they do a mental health care plan and get a separate referral letter stating 6 sessions from their doctor.




Find psychologists in:


Please note, it is important to consult a qualified mental health practitioner such as e.g. a psychologist or psychiatrist to confirm any diagnosis you think you might have. You must not rely on the information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No assurance can be given that the information on this site will always include the most recent developments or research with respect to a particular topic.

4 Good Reason You Should Call Us!

Quick appointments no matter where you live in Australia. Online shyness, public speaking and anxiety treatment available.

Minimal out of pocket expense (Medicare & Health fund Rebates)

Clinical Psychologist with approx. 25 years of experience. Also offering virtual reality exposure therapy.

Business hours, After hours and Saturdays appointments

Frequently Asked Questions

Anxiety Australia is an anxiety clinic in Hawthorn, Melbourne that is run by Catherine Madigan, who is a clinical psychologist. She primarily focuses on treating anxiety disorders and stress management techniques to individuals and businesses through one on one consultations and stress management workshops.

She offers professional, discreet and confidential treatment options that work.

Catherine’s effective anxiety treatments offered in Melbourne can help you overcome disorders such as:

Call now for an appointment on 0429 883 671

The website provides information about anxiety disorders and the treatment options available. You will also find contact details for other psychologists around Australia who have substantial experience in and/or work primarily with anxiety disorders.

Catherine Madigan is a Melbourne based Clinical Psychologist. She is passionate about empowering clients with confidence. The reason her focus is primarily on the treatment of anxiety disorders is that she gains great satisfaction by witnessing the freedom and life changing results her therapies can deliver.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in Australia, with 1/7 people (14% of the population) reporting having had an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months. Women are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men, 18% vs 11%. ABS National Survey of Mental Health & Wellbeing, Summary of Results 2007.

Anxiety or fear is a normal response to a present or imagined threat. Mild fear can be helpful as it enables us to respond quickly when faced with a dangerous situation and to be alert in difficult situations (e.g. exams). However, excessive fear may lead to people being paralysed e.g. soldiers under attack may be so afraid they can’t move to take cover, public speakers may find they go blank, forget their lines and are rendered speechless.

Anxiety is a normal emotion as it affects most people and is widespread. You would be abnormal if you didn’t experience fear sometimes. However, if your anxiety is out of proportion to the situation you are experiencing and/or persists in the absence of threat, e.g you worry about events months ahead or are experiencing anxiety long after the danger has passed, you may need professional help.

Some people are more prone to experiencing anxiety than others and it is not caused by just one thing but by a combination of factors including: genetics, family environment and traumatic life experiences. Sufferers may have unhelpful thinking patterns such as perfectionist standards. Nevertheless, you can learn to manage your anxiety more effectively.

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