Healing The Hypochondriac
The thought of falling ill can be alarming. Apart from dealing with symptoms, there is the inconvenience of treatment and potential loss of income. It is therefore laudable that all levels of government and tiers of society collaborate to minimise or prevent ill health, as well as recover health when individuals are ill
Hypochondria, however, is an abnormal, chronic, excessive anxiety, usually without a reliable basis, that disease is imminent. Every twinge, sniffle, real, or imagined, is sufficient confirmation to the perturbed thought, that disease is developing in the body. The mere mention of symptoms in the media, either as advertisements or news, can bring on fear that all is not well. This results in the hypochondriac spending considerable time and finances dosing with non-prescription drugs, and where possible, prescription drugs. When symptoms are mild or non-existent, hypochondria is classified as ‘Illness anxiety disorder’, and where there are major or multiple physical symptoms, ‘somatic symptom disorder’. Cyberchondria is a term for hypochondria associated with online medical research.
The basis of hypochondria is fear. No drug can travel through the bloodstream, identify where fear resides, and heal it. Psychological counseling and psychiatric treatment, starting from the premise of a materially mortal mind, include in their mental treatment, material means and modes. While these methods record some measure of improvement for patients, the focus it lays on the physical body and mortal mind may compromise healing of the hypochondriac thought from the outset. A September 30, 2003 Time magazine article by Dr. Michael D. Lemonick says many doctors consider hypochondriacs ‘nuisances’, because, ‘though they account for 6% of total patients, they clog the healthcare system, and cost the US up to US$20billion in wasted resources.’ Neuro-psychiatrists like Dr. Brian Fallon Barsky of Columbia University however state sympathetically, that something is wrong with hypochondriacs, but it is a disorder of thought, rather than body.
Since hypochondria is a thought disorder, changing the premise of treatment from the physical or materially mental to the spiritual, predisposes a case to healing, because spirituality begins with Spirit rather than body; with God, and man as God’s reflection. Accepting spirituality as the basis and status of man, removes fear of disease. With fear gone, says Mary Baker Eddy in her internationally acclaimed book, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, the foundation of disease is destroyed. Spirituality enables individuals hold themselves superior to the thought of sickness in the first place. And for those desiring to be free from an illness, spirituality gives the confident assurance that nothing is beyond the reach of the Almighty.
Discovering that there is physical, empirical proof that spirituality brings healing, attested by the best of the medical faculty, reveals that spirituality is reliable, practical, even scientific. Eddy first stated this radical idea in 1866, and since then, numerous individuals are proving the efficacy of her statement. Spirituality can afford concrete hope with the expectation of positive and practical results for healing hypochondria.