Treating Health Anxiety and Fear of Death: A Practitioner's Guide / Edition 1

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Never has our culture been more aware of personal and global health hazards, from both within and without. While most people may feel some anxiety in this regard, some have an unbearable sense of dread that prevents them from functioning. Chronic health anxiety heightened fears of illness, disease, and death is a central feature of hypochondriasis, of course, but can also present as depression, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, and other diagnoses. Treating Health Anxiety offers the professional reader not only an understanding of this condition, but also an easily implemented cognitive/behavioral program for reducing fear of illness, overcoming the fear of death, and getting more enjoyment from life, including: -Step-by-step coverage of the assessment process and therapy sessions -Patient worksheets and self-monitoring forms -Specific guidelines for treating health anxiety in children and the elderly -Strategies for handling impasses and setbacks -Up-to-date guide to pharmacotherapy for health anxiety. As media attention to health issues increases, client fears of illness won't go away any time soon. Treating Health Anxiety gives prescribing and non-prescribing clinicians (as well as the counselors and social workers who encounter the problem) the tools to reduce both the fears and the medical costs that so often accompany them.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

From the reviews

"This is an outstanding book that is written by some of the leading experts in the field. It combines a scholarly review of the empirical literature and a hands-on clinical guide for treating some of the most challenging psychological problems. It is a must-read for all practitioners who treat patients with health anxiety." (Stefan G. Hofmann, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Boston University, USA)

"Drs. Furer, Walker, and Stein have written a very practical treatment manual for health anxiety. Any clinician working with anxiety disorders will want to have this resource, and it is a must read for students and trainees. Copious case illustrations and handouts make the book especially user-friendly. It will occupy a prominent place on my bookshelf." (Prof. Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Anxiety Disorders Program, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA)

"Health anxiety is a common and challenging clinical problem. Dr. Furer and colleagues, who are leading experts in the field of health anxiety, have written a superb guidebook for practitioners. Based on a blend of empirical research and years of clinical experience, this book is essential reading for all clinicians working with health-anxious patients." (Steven Taylor, PhD, ABPP, Professor, University of British Columbia, and author (with Gordon J. G. Asmundson) of Treating health anxiety: A cognitive-behavioral approach (2004, Guilford Press) and It’s not all in your head: How worrying about your health could be making you sick—and what you can do about it (2005, Guilford Press)

"Health anxiety has become a prominent feature of the consultation room, and it is a burden both for those who suffer from it as well as for practitioners. Patricia Furer, John Walker and Murray B. Stein present with this book a powerful tool for enhancing the quality of life for people suffering from hypochondriasis and health anxiety. An additional value is their focus on fear of death, an aspect much overlooked by most other books in this area. The authors provide us with ample opportunity to learn more about the disorders, about its assessment as well as its treatment, by explaining the details of the various treatment options and by providing helpful materials such as handouts, examples, and trouble shooting. An extra asset of this book is its attention for specific applications of the interventions, i.e. children and older people. This book is highly recommended to those who want to profit from up-to-date knowledge of health anxiety and its many features, and who want to provide the best care possible for their patients." (Theo K. Bouman, PhD, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology,University of Groningen, The Netherlands)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780387351445
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 2/11/2009
  • Series: Series in Anxiety and Related Disorders
  • Edition description: 2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Furer, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Health Psychology at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Furer has been interested in health anxiety since graduate school and her doctoral dissertation was an examination of hypochondriasis in individuals with various anxiety disorders. Her current research interests include psychological treatments for health anxiety, and the role of safety behaviors and fear of death in the development of health anxiety. Together with Dr. Walker, she has published several papers and book chapters on health anxiety. In her clinical work, Dr. Furer provides cognitive-behavioral treatment for adults with various anxiety and somatoform disorders. She also enjoys providing clinical supervision to graduate students and residents in clinical psychology.

John R. Walker, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and Professor of Clinical Health Psychology at University of Manitoba. Dr. Walker is active in research, particularly in the areas of anxiety disorders and epidemiology. He supervises senior clinical psychology students in their training in research and treatment in the anxiety disorders area and provides individual and group treatment services himself. He started his career as a psychologist by working for three years as a school psychologist in the public school system. Currently he is principle investigator in a study evaluating a prevention-oriented program to assist parents in helping Kindergarten-age children who are particularly shy and fearful. Through his work with adults, adolescents and children he has developed a longstanding interest in health anxiety. He is an editor of a book titled Panic disorder and agoraphobia: A comprehensive guide for the practitioner (1991) and in 2001 he was coauthor of a self-help book with Dr. Murray Stein titled: Triumph over shyness: Conquering shyness and social anxiety.

Murray B. Stein, MD, MPH, FRCPC, is Professor of Psychiatry and Family & Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Director of the Anxiety & Traumatic Stress Program at UCSD and at the Department of Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. He graduated from the University of Manitoba and was a postgraduate trainee at the University of Toronto and at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. He subsequently completed a Master of Public Health degree at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research interests include the neurobiology, epidemiology, and treatment of anxiety disorders including social phobia, panic disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Dr. Stein has written or co-written over 250 peer-reviewed scientific articles on these topics, including publications in journals such as The Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association, American Journal of Psychiatry, and Archives of General Psychiatry. His federally funded research includes studies of interventions for anxiety disorders in primary care, pharmacological approaches to treatment-resistant anxiety disorders, and functional neuroimaging research in anxiety and trauma-related disorders. Dr. Stein is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), Scientific Chair of the NIH Interventions in Mood and Anxiety (ITMA) Review Group, a reviewer for numerous journals, and a member of the editorial boards of Depression & Anxiety, General Hospital Psychiatry, The Science World (TSW) Psychiatry, and Trends in Evidence-Based Neuropsychiatry.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Preface


Chapter 1. Fear of Illness and Death

Chapter 2. Etiological Factors

Chapter 3. A Cognitive Behavioral Perspective


Chapter 4. Treatment of Health Anxiety: What Are the Choices?

Chapter 5. Assessment and Diagnostic Issues

Chapter 6. Overview of Cognitive Behavioral Treatment

Chapter 7. Response Prevention and Coping with Physical Symptoms

Chapter 8. Exposure to Feared Illnesses and Symptoms

Chapter 9. Cognitive Interventions

Chapter 10. Overcoming Fear of Death

Chapter 11. Satisfaction and Enjoyment of Life

Chapter 12. Pharmacological Treatment

Chapter 13. Troubleshooting and Coping with Setbacks


Chapter 14. Health Anxiety and Somatization in Children

Chapter 15. Health Anxiety in Illness and Aging


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