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HOW do I help someone with hypochondria???

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Old 11-11-2008, 07:46 AM   #1
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Default HOW do I help someone with hypochondria???

I have a problem that has been bothering me for over a decade. My MIL and one of my SIL's are hypochondriacs. They are at the doctor's office every week it seems for this or that...and amazingly, they are not dead yet. (You would think they would be, as much as they complain about their health... )

They both have pharmacies in their purse. They are always the first to jump up to grab the Tylenol or kids Dimatapp when we are visiting and one of my kids sniff. ONCE. (And I decline the offer...)

They are on SOOOO many prescription drugs, that they are taking more to combat the SIDE EFFECTS of the ones that they are already taking.

My MIL has even had one doctor tell her that he didn't want to be her doctor anymore...because she won't listen to him/isn't satisfied when he tells her that there is NOTHING WRONG WITH HER, and that she should seek a therapist.

Both of them have been prescribed antidepressants along with their gads of drugs...and I KNOW that this is the doctor's way of trying to help their "mind" because there is nothing wrong with them, other than the fact that they THINK there is!!!!

The most recent diagnosis is fibromyalgia. They both feel like crap all day, have trouble sleeping and feeling rested, headaches, depression...so the doctor slapped that diagnosis at them. They are telling EVERYONE about it. For those of you that don't know-there is NO blood test, X-Ray, or anything else that proves that you have this disorder. Some people truly have it, but often hypochondriacs are also given this label, because the patient will keep coming in until the doctor tells them SOMETHING.

Well, the symptoms that they have been complaining of, are ALL side effects of all of the other drugs that they are taking!!!! If they quit taking a purse full of pills every day-the "symptoms" of fibromyalgia would disappear!!!!

I am just at my wit's end with these people. My SIL has a 2 year old son, and I fear for him. I am fully expecting him to be on allergy medication, carrying around an inhaler by this time next year...


ARRRRGGHHH!!!!
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:50 AM   #2
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wow....i wouldn't even know what to tell you. They need therapy but obviously, they aren't going to listen to you if they aren't even listening to the dr. I don't have any wise advice/suggestion but just wanted to let you know sorry you are going thr this. Know it doesn't help...but i really haven't ever dealt with something like it.
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:00 AM   #3
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I'm convinced that most people need to feel special. Unfortunately, some will even use illness as a way to feel unique. DH and I call it miserable uniqueness.

I have no words of wisdom for you. Sorry Amy. Do they have other qualities that make them special?
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:26 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by SusanB View Post
I'm convinced that most people need to feel special. Unfortunately, some will even use illness as a way to feel unique. DH and I call it miserable uniqueness.

I have no words of wisdom for you. Sorry Amy. Do they have other qualities that make them special?
Susan-I really appreciate this, considering your medical background. (My mother is a nurse. )

My MIL has lots of special things about her-she sews beautifully, she decorates cakes professionally on the side, she is a good cook, she has lots of things that are great about her.

On the other hand, my SIL, is an "attention whore". It's the only way I know how to describe it. Everything is a big deal. She was always the "babied" sibling...everything has always been done FOR her by everyone. My husband and the other sister had to work outside on the farm growing up-while this sister stayed inside because she had "allergies". When we were pregnant together, I had a riskier pregnancy (gestational diabetes, large baby, premature labor, bedrest during part of my first trimester) and whenever I would have something-immediately SHE would feel symptoms of it , too. The father actually said one day "Aphil's feet look swollen today...are YOURS swollen now, too?"

My MIL takes care of her kid. Her grandparents bought her car, and STILL pay her insurance, do her oil changes, etc. (BTW-she is 30 years old...) She lives with my MIL and FIL rent free. She has dropped out of college 3 times. She basically does NOTHING, but complain and lie in bed...and smoke cigarettes. She sleeps off and on about 12-14 hours a day, wakes up and smokes, and goes back to bed. She eats like crap, doesn't exercise, and wonders why she feels like crap.

I just don't know what to do. We have a family gathering on Sunday, and I KNOW all I am going to hear about is their latest diagnosis. I am just afraid that I am going to snap, and tell them that there is nothing wrong with them in front of everyone.
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:28 AM   #5
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I recently got the Discovery Health channel at my house and one of my favorite shows is Mystery Diagnosis.
In alot of these cases, the person has been sick for years, some for decades, and they get the brush off from doctors and are told that it's "all in their heads".
This has shed a new light on how I feel about other people and their ailments.
Maybe there is something wrong with them, but they haven't found the right doctor yet with the right diagnosis.
I do think it's wrong for doctors to just prescribe medicine that doesn't really help, and may cause more harm than good, though.
I know you feel that there's nothing wrong with these two family members, but maybe there really is. ?????
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:29 AM   #6
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So sticking your fingers in your ears and singing "lalalalalalalala" isn't an option?
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:38 AM   #7
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On a more serious note ... can you get them doing any reading? Dr Oz? metabolic syndrome? Gillian McKeith?
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:49 AM   #8
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For years i thought my sister was a hypocondriac.. she was always 'sick'.. she complained constantly and never felt 'good'. i used to get irritated with her because i truly felt it was all in her head and she never had a 'real' diagnosis.. well, at this mo, she is in ICU.. her lungs have failed her and she is on a breathing machine of some sort. in the last 3 years she has been diagnosed with Interstitial systitis, COPD,Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, she has had cataracts (removed now tho), and she has white lesions on her frontal lobe that havnt as yet been diagnosed.. she has had a constipation problem to the point of vomiting fecal matter and now has to take the meds they give someone before a colonoscopy once every two weeks or she backs up so bad she can start to vomit it again...
i know i feel like crap now.. for years i didnt believe anything was wrong.. neither did her drs.. they told her to go to a shrink as well...she has told me even tho she is dying (copd) and only has maybe 3 years left, that she still feels great that they finally found all the things wrong with her and proved it wasnt in her head. how frustrating those years must have been for her with family and drs not believing her... my motto now is 'i cant feel what you feel, so who am i to judge'?
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:24 AM   #9
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What you must understand...is that all of their health screenings are NORMAL...and when there actually IS something wrong, they don't WANT to do what it takes to fix the problem...they want a pill. For instance, if someone in the family has high blood pressure, there isn't any discussion on how to actually help or cure the problem-it is all about "what did they give you to take?"

When my kids simply need to blow their nose and sniff-my MIL is immediately telling me that I need to go and get them checked for allergies, and is running in the bathroom to get the Benadryl...when my child is NOT having an allergy attack.

My MIL had some back pain, and the doctor TOLD her that to fix it, that she need to A) lose 15-20 pounds and it would put less stress on her back B) that she needed to do a series of exercises to strengthen her core.

Did she do either one, or even TRY? No. She wanted pain medication instead.


My SIL lays on her behind ALL DAY. She literally does NOTHING. She has pretty much done this for the last 2 years...she won't even do her own child's laundry. She stays out half the night with her boyfriend, and then sleeps all day while everyone else takes care of her kid. Now the fibromyalgia is her "excuse" to sleep all day and not take care of her child...get the picture??

The fact is, is that if I quit exercising, and partied all night, and slept all day...I would have achy muscles and feel like crap, too.

These are the same people that try to push simple carbs and sweets on me, knowing that I am at high risk for full blown diabetes. They think I am crazy for exercising every day, and watching what I eat as much as I do. Why-when I could simply go and get diabetes meds from my doctor?

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Old 11-11-2008, 09:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
My SIL has a 2 year old son, and I fear for him. I am fully expecting him to be on allergy medication, carrying around an inhaler by this time next year...
I'm sorry, but that made me chuckle. Am I a bad person? lol.

I have a friend like this. She to was the "babied" sibling. Youngest and only girl. She's had dr's ask her to not come back aswell. They put her on depression pills, but she didn't like they way they made her feel, so she went off them. She now self-medicates herself with 3 different sleeping pills at night, also an anti-anxiety pill... All this just to go to bed. She claims she has troubles falling asleep. Okay, maybe so, but ONE sleeping pill would be enough. Not 3 different ones AND an anti-anxiety pill. By the way these pills are all extra strength, and it says clear as day on the bottle take ONE pill 30 minutes before going to bed. ONE not FOUR. She pretty much makes herself high as a kite than falls asleep. Honestly, I think she loves the attention. She's always been an "attention whore". There is no way to help her either, unless shes willing to help herself. Which she is not yet.

P.S. I was talking to her last night on the phone, and she said "I feel weird, I'm pretty sure I have MS"
I'm like... Oh Gosh... here we go again.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:04 AM   #11
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:13 AM   #12
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junebug-maybe my MIL and SIL need to hang out with your mom and sis.

Your statement about your mom being disabled at 54 is almost exactly the same...my MIL is the same age, and is currently going through the paperwork to stop working and get disability. It is such a shame...

I truly DO believe that when you think that you are sick for so many years, that you actually DO develop symptoms. But you can't get them to understand that...or do anything to counteract it.

It just scares me, all of the drugs that they take, and have taken, for years.

luvja-glad you found my comment humorous. It doesn't make you a bad person, it means you appreciate my Seinfeld like sarcasm. We should have drinks sometime-I'd probably make some come out of your nose.

Your phone call with your friend (Here we go again...) made ME laugh! That is exactly how I feel.

When they started talking about SIL's fibromyalgia symptoms (achy muscles, being tired, sleeping all day) I am checking stuff off in my head the entire time (you take muscle relaxers, you lie in bed all day, you SMOKE, you don't exercise, you eat once a day and it's usually something crappy....)



But, if I offer to go for a walk with them or suggest exercise-then I'm crazy. When I tell them that their most recent symptom of the week is a direct side effect of the most recent drug that they got put on a few weeks ago...then I'm crazy. When I bring a HEALTHY dish to a family dinner, they don't touch it.

It just makes it tiring to be around them.

The drug commercials on tv make it worse. They see symptoms on tv, and are like "I wonder if I have that...." and then they make an appointment.

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Old 11-11-2008, 10:22 AM   #13
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I had a boyfriend who was hypochondriac. He was going to at least 3 or 4 doctors for his imaginary ailments as well as at least 3 or 4 chiropractors and of course since he was sure he would drop dead at any moment he had several life insurance policies.He was an insurance agents dream come true. He had plenty of good qualities but dealing with ailments, mostly imaginary, was too much for me and I broke off the relationship. The fact is , there is nothing we can do about it.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:36 AM   #14
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:44 AM   #15
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Sadly, there isn't much anyone else can do. They sound like they have probably brainwashed themselves into believing they truly are sickly. I know from my own experience that it is really easy to get sort of mentally paralyzed - and all the crappy food and unnecessary meds can really exacerbate the whole situation and make it seem to some people that they are truly powerless to do anything about it. It's going to take each of them having their own "aha" moment and deciding for themselves that they have to change their habits if they ever want to feel like they are alive.

I think the best thing for you to do is stay focused on your own positiveness. When they start to moan, you could just say out loud "gee, I'm sure glad my good nutrution choices keep me healthy and feeling good". They'll probably resent that you are focused on yourself but at least you won't be letting them pull you into their black hole.
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