Reassurance and explanation

Most patients are reassured by being told that the symptoms they have are common and rarely associated with disease and that their doctor is familiar with them. This is especially so if accompanied by the promise of further review should the symptoms persist.

Reassurance needs to be used carefully, however. It is essential to elicit patients' specific concerns about their symptoms and to target reassurance appropriately. The simple repetition of bland reassurance that fails to address patients' fears is ineffective. If patients have severe anxiety about disease (hypochondriasis) repeated reassurance is not only ineffective but may even perpetuate the problem.

A positive explanation for symptoms is usually more helpful that a simple statement that there is no disease. Most patients will accept explanations that include psychological and social factors as well as physiological ones as long as the reality of symptom is accepted. The explanation can usefully show the link between these factors—for example, how anxiety can lead to physiological changes in the autonomic nervous system that cause somatic symptoms, which, if regarded as further evidence of disease, lead to more anxiety

Eliminating Stress and Anxiety From Your Life

Eliminating Stress and Anxiety From Your Life

It seems like you hear it all the time from nearly every one you know I'm SO stressed out!? Pressures abound in this world today. Those pressures cause stress and anxiety, and often we are ill-equipped to deal with those stressors that trigger anxiety and other feelings that can make us sick. Literally, sick.

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