How can I deal with hypochondria?

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My husband has some real pain, but makes up others others daily. I have lost all empathy.

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I have a very similar issue with MIL. She obsesses about herself and wants to go to the doctor every five minutes. She mainly wants attention. We try to ignore her complaining (she's in excellent health for 90 years old, does have some aches and pains from arthritis that there really isn't answer for). I'm fearful about it for two reasons. First she invokes illness for manipulative reasons. We can't let ourselves get bullied -- we are her primary caretakers with alot of help from my H's sibling -- but we do have to work and we are not young people either. Sibling and spouse have significant health issues of their own. But i am afraid we are going to get so habituated to her manipulative complaints that we miss something real. I'm also concerned that her family doc is over prescribing psych meds. She's taking Effexor and Atican 4x/daily. She shows all the signs of tolerance and dependence on the Ativan, she has received no behavioral therapy. She also takes opiates. We have caught her several times taking benzos and opiates she talked other family members out of by lying. I've also had to buttonhole doctors outside exam rooms during her frequent cobbled-up ER visits and short circuit obvious med-seeking.

And for our part, we would REALLY just once in a great while like to be able to have a conversation about something ELSE.
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How long did he use the Oxy. Maybe he is "hooked" on painkillers. Info on Oxy seems to be coming to the front but a little late. A few years back a friend researched Oxy and found it was developed for the termainly ill. Its as bad as Herion but Drs. started prescribing it for post operate pain. People got hooked. She started a campaign against prescribing it. Its just now that the State of NJ is picking up on it. Maybe you should look into a pain management doctor. He may take husband off of everything and start over.
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Well, I feel your "pain"..and I am not being snarky. My mother was (I thought) the world's biggest hypochondriac. She never felt good. She always had a "raging migraine" or "probably cancer" or whatever---my entire life. I cannot remember a single day when she didn't bring up how much pain she was in. We just grew up with it---and the one day, many years ago, my hubby said "I have never seen your mother without a neck brace, foot "cast" or arm in a sling". He wasn't being funny, he was just making a comment. It was like a bolt of lightning. I hadn't either.

She actually faked appendicitis so well they took out a completely healthy appendix.

Now she is 87, a mess, covered in a veritable road map of scars from 50+ surgeries over the years, and nobody listens to her complaints. Oddly, once the local hospitals refused to give her Demerol shots for her migraines, she stopped having them. Now she's just old, and most 87 yo's have a plethora of aches and pains, and yet she rarely says much about hurting all the time.

Daddy completely ignored her "illnesses", which probably made it worse, I don't know. She blamed us kids for everything. We're ALL messed up.

I think you are pretty clear headed about your thinking process. Some people revel in being ill, and probably your hubby does have some serious depression going on, but you can't change that. He has to want to. IF he'd go to a psych dr and IF he'd go to counseling, there's a chance he may find out why he "needs" to be sick.

My heart goes out to you, this is a sad way to live, isn't it?

BTW, I myself suffer from chronic back pain. I DO know what it's like to hurt all day, everyday. BUT, I don't share that with all and sundry. It's MY pain, not theirs. And I function every day. It can be done. In fact, my dad used to say "90% of the work in the world is being done by people who don't feel very good."
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First - NEVER dismiss things as hypochondria.

My DH is a hypochondriac and I believe it is the #1 reason he's still here at 95 - to be 96 in 2 months. The flip-side to hypochondria is you could be finding problems earlier.

Then find out where the pain is. A lot of pain is gas and you need to know where gas pains hit. In my experience, it tends to be sharp pains under the left breast but there are many places gas can hit and hurt. Try something like Zantac or Gas-X to see if it helps. As long as you stay within the dosage, it won't hurt him and if the pain goes away, you will have found your problem. I now give Ray 1 Gas-X every morning, chewable as he has trouble swallowing.

It goes without saying that anything you give him needs to be told to his physician.
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What I have to say is something I can tell you from my own current experience with arthritis and now a broken ankle. The best pain relief is actually through a healthy diet rich in fruits and veggies and anything else healthy you don't get enough of such as omega three fatty acid's in fish. Also drinking lots of filtered water helps a lot along with a little exercise and even an occasional massage. Natural alternatives help to relieve pain sometimes much better than pain pills.

I'll tell you a little secret:

The less you depend on pain pills, the more likely doctors will be willing to trust you with temporary narcotics when you do have a legitimate problem as long as you use those narcotics properly as prescribed. I'm currently on Percocets for my broken ankle I broke on July 4. Percocets are only meant to be short term, very temporary. I'm in the process of gradually weaning off whereas before I needed them every four hours when I first broke my ankle. Now I'm in the process of weaning off of them and finding natural alternatives to deal with the pain. You may use my story as an example and try to wean this patient off of pain pills altogether because too much medicine over time has been known to cause internal organ damage. That means the more you take over a period of years, the higher risk you are for not only side effects, but organ damage and even failure. Water pills are a big culprit for kidney failure, I knew one particular person who is kidney died due to water pills that were prescribed to him. Another person I currently know was also on a water pill and I told him this particular story about this other friend and he had to go off the water pill after consulting with his doctor because his kidney was on the way out as well. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and learn to know the signs when something may be wrong. Popping a pill is not always the answer to every problem, although these days there's a pill for that just like "there's an app for that". Sometimes you just have to think outside the pillbox and go for natural alternatives. Dealing with a hypochondriac may be hard, but sometimes you just have to lock up all the pills or just downright get rid of them. There are some pharmacies but I don't know if all participate in drug surrender. One time I went off of a specific medication and when I had to, another new medication would've conflicted with it so I was able to surrender it's at the window of my local CVS drive-through. I'm no longer on those medications now that I'm past whatever it was I was going through at the time, but again, pills or just not always the answer. Before pills were ever invented, people went to different plants and made their own medicine, something we should be doing today and living off the land God gave us. If there were more farmers market's and people eating healthy, there would be fewer pharmacies, and not one on every corner it seems. You may try visiting the produce department and introducing fresh produce into this persons diet and make it enjoyable by providing dips for certain veggies, favorite dressings for salads, just go organic if possible, but it sounds like this patient may very well need a total diet change to regain their health. People back in Bible days lived several hundred years before they finally died, our bodies are very capable of living much longer than we actually do today but the problem is the modern diet. Changing our diets back to the natural diet of our forefathers will help us not only feel better but need less medication because they are secure in natural plants
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I go through this too. My husband tells me about every sensation as if it's cancer that is going to kill him. The best thing I've come up with is to tell him to make a pain journal to share with his medical providers. He has some real stuff going on and I truly believe some imagined. I can't judge another but it does get old. Sometimes I have to just resort to saying please put that on your pain journal. He is an obsessive type with many other good qualities that seem to get overshadowed by this. Other times I have to just get away from him so I don't explode. Concentrating on myself if my best defense. Compassion for myself first goes a long way. He can't help who he is and neither can I. I can only help myself!!!! Thank God my husband does have activities that are not shared with me, so we each have some of our own space. I don't know what I will do when his activities have to be curtailed because of his health. I think Adult daycare and senior centers will be my only help. I plan to always keep some self-definition from him even though I want to be with him till his last. I really feel his providers can see this obsession as well because he ends up not liking whatever provider it is when they don't show his aliments enough attention. I encourage him to stick to his priorities when he meets with them, like the knee doctor is for the knee and the spine doctor for the spine and the shoulder doctor for the shoulder. I feel so for the primary but he doesn't see him more than once a quarter. I also encourage anything that will keep his mind busy. Cheerleading his volunteer work and gifting him art classes. God be with us all!!!
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I am a chronic pain patient. I've had relatives accusing me of making things up, when I'm actually in a good bit of pain. The relatives who say this about me have severe personality disorders and at least one is a functioning sociopath. Because my severe pain was not treated quickly enough (lasted over six months, by a long shot), I have complications due to severe pain.

The truth of the matter is this: surgeons and primary care physicians really don't know how to manage chronic pain. Opiate abuse really is a problem, but for some chronic pain patients, opiate use is a real lifesaver. We, the public (and that includes many people with medical training) have become so afraid of opiates that patients who really need them are not being properly medicated, which means that they are still in pain--and it can be a lot of pain. There are many doctors who responsibly do pain management, who really do know their patients and make sure that they responsibly use (and not abuse) their medications.

I would take him to primary care for a referral to a chronic pain management clinic. There are good ones, where there are neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and mental health professionals on staff. Chronic pain is very difficult to treat, because for most people, no one treatment really works well but it's a combination of treatments that works. They also realize that it's important to care for the caregivers and spouses, for chronic pain really does affect their lives as well. Most mental health professionals don't have the knowledge or expertise needed to work with those affected by chronic pain, and that includes the spouse. Not only would he benefit from visiting a really good comprehensive chronic pain management clinic, but you would benefit as well.

Please be aware that many chronic pain management clinics promote questionable practices (also known as quackery). For example, a chronic pain management clinic in a well known rehabilitation hospital in my area is run by people promoting questionable medical practices--not science based medicine. They do a really good job hiding the fact that this clinic promotes medical quackery from the public (and from busy physicians), by only discussing science based medicine on the clinic's main page--and not linking to the biographies of the clinic providers. To get the biographies of the clinic providers, you have to dig much further into the web site and search on that clinic. Only then do you see that that particular clinic is staffed almost exclusively by people who promote questionable medical practices--practices that are not science-based. The doctor running the clinic is especially interested in 'energy healing' and Reiki, and other forms of New Age woo and is an editor for three journals devoted to promoting woo. Most of the physical therapists are yoga teachers and deeply into New Age Spirituality and Mysticism. The psychologist is an 'energy healer'. What you want is science based medicine, not woo or quackery. Any medical professional who promotes woo is incompetent--and this clinic is staffed from top to bottom by incompetent people. When I showed this to my doctor (who was thinking about making a referral), he thanked me for the printouts. He told me that he would never ever refer someone to them and that he would show his colleagues at the next staff meeting what I discovered.

Good luck!
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Has he been evaluated for depression?
And this almost sounds like a bit of an addiction.
Even though he has a pump that will prevent withdrawal it does not give the same effect that taking an opiod or other pain killer would.
And depending on how long he had back issues with pain he may not fully recognize that he is out of pain. A person can be in pain for so long they do not remember what it is like to be pain free.
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I feel for you. It is hard to listen to someone complain about ailments all day. Have you mentioned this to the doctor? I wonder if it could be the side effects of the meds or something else. Is he afraid if he stops talking about his ailments no one will care about him? Leave him? I wonder if there is a deeper reason he is talking about this non stop. I would consider talking to a counsellor and see if they can offer some suggestions to cope.
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Grapeauto522, I have one of those at home, he whines about this pain and that pain. Well, that's one way of getting out doing chores... [sigh]. And the pain complaints to get attention. So now unless his hair is on fire, I tend to ignore his grumbling.

Hey, I am also a senior citizen and I get my own aches and pains, but I don't complain about it. In fact, doing housework helps the aches/pains, but try telling a spouse that :P

Anyway, I use to be a hypochondriac, any new pills I would get I would read the report that comes with a new prescription, and before I knew it I was getting those side effects... mind over matter, psychosomatic issue.... which can be quite common. I had noticed when I was spending time dealing with my very elderly parents that I forgot about any aches, pains or other health issues. I just didn't care anymore, yet I am still alive years later :)
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