Nursing and the aging Family DQ week 7 part one student replay Joel Sanchez
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Hypochondriasis can be a problem for older adults. What situations contribute to hypochondriasis and what interventions can nurses provide that will address this problem in older adults?
Hypochondriasis refers to persistent anxiety with the likelihood of having one or more severe and progressive physical disorders. There is a wide range of differences between regular health anxiety and persistent incapacitating hypochondriasis (Bailer et al., 2016). The primary cause of hypochondriasis is unknown, but some factors increase the risk of developing the condition. Hypochondriasis is prevalent in older adults due to the aging changes and the fear of losing their memory. Memory issues and a time of high stress in life are some of the situations that contribute to the condition. Other situations include the history of abuses when one was a child, threats of severe illness that turn out to be less severe, and some personality traits, including having a worrier. Sometimes when an older adult had a severe childhood illness or had a parent with a severe illness, they are likely to develop health-related anxiety. Older adults experience a lot of changes in their bodies as a result of aging, which makes them feel more anxious.
Nurses can provide cognitive behavioral therapy to older adults by using mindfulness techniques. Health anxiety can cause potential real distress to older adults, which can also make them uncomfortable in life. Through this therapy, they can be taught how to think positively and how to handle stress. Cognitive behavior therapy is essential since it involves challenging unnecessary fears and beliefs about health anxieties and monitoring your self-talk. The adults can be guided on managing their thoughts and viewing some of those physical symptoms they experience as less serious illnesses, and the past experiences may never reoccur. Nurses can also administer antidepressant drugs such as fluoxetine, which is also considered an effective treatment for hypochondriasis (Fallon et al., 2017). Antidepressants will help manage their anxieties and make them less depressed. Meanwhile, their families and close relatives can be informed to keep talking to them and reassure them, although it only has a temporary impact on the patients.
Bailer, J., Kerstner, T., Witthöft, M., Diener, C., Mier, D., & Rist, F. (2016). Health anxiety and hypochondriasis in the light of DSM-5. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 29(2), 219-239 https://doi.org/10.1080/10615806.2015.1036243
Fallon, B. A., Ahern, D. K., Pavlicova, M., Slavov, I., Skritskya, N., & Barsky, A. J. (2017). A randomized controlled trial of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy for hypochondriasis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 174(8), 756-764 https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16020189