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How to Help a Hypochondriac

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My boyfriend of two years is a hypochondriac. Before we met and started dating he was, as he describes, full blown delusional and utterly convinced that he had non existent medical issues. Though he is much better than a few years ago, he periodically projects his delusions of non existent medical issues on to me, claiming that I have an eating disorder, etc. as well on to himself. He won’t seek professional help or counseling out of fear of humiliation and refuses medication (he can be very stubborn). How do I help someone going through something like this?

How to Help a Hypochondriac

Answered by on -

A.

People have to decide if they need help and then decide if they want help. If he’s unwilling to seek help, that’s his choice. You will have a choice to make, too. You’ll have to decide if you want a partner who stubbornly refuses treatment for a curable problem. It’s good that he has improved but this issue continues to negatively impact his life and by extension yours. That is unfortunate because if he were open to treatment, it could be easily corrected.

Suggest that he seek help. Encourage him to do so. Ultimately it may come down to the pivotal issue of therapy. If he is unwilling to get therapy, the relationship may naturally terminate. When you have been adamant about his need for therapy and encouraged him as much as you can, at that point, the only choice you have is whether or not to end the relationship. But realize that if you do not end the relationship, under these circumstances, that is a choice you will have made. You would have, in essence, accepted his refusal of treatment. Should you stay, it would not be fair to resent his decision. You will have to accept him as he is, the person who knowingly has a problem but who refuses treatment.

Dating is an opportunity to determine compatibility. If you are okay with his choices, then you may have chosen correctly. If not, then he may not be a match and it might be time to move on. Good luck with your decision.

Dr. Kristina Randle

How to Help a Hypochondriac

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). How to Help a Hypochondriac. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/12/17/how-to-help-a-hypochondriac/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Dec 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 Dec 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.