Perpetuation or exacerbation of hypochondria

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 04, 2012 at 7:46 PM

Do sites like PaleoHacks, as useful as they are, perpetuate or exacerbate hypochondria?

I'm not suggesting for a second that people here are hypochondriacs but personally I find myself spending a good portion of my day trawling through articles on here and other places about health because I'm so damn sure something's wrong with me, but how do we really know how close to good health we are or whether the way we feel is normal or taken out of context of how we believe we should feel? It seems impossible to tweak supplements or diets to perfection and often times our attempts to do so are possibly self sabotaging, at least in my case. I can't shake the idea that something is wrong with me and one particular tweak will change everything and I'm being god damn cheated by this medical problem and I don't want to limp through life never discovering how to fix it.

At what point does the curve of good health begin to dip down again through obsession or over analysis? Or restrictions in diet? Would my time be better spent relaxing than trying to figure out exactly why my skin is dull or the circles under my eyes exist? Might they lessen if I disregarded them? Or is there some personal panacea I've yet to stumble upon? Have I not given the diet long enough? Am I not strict enough? Am I too strict? Am I asking too many questions? Am I afraid of living and so delve into articles all day to avoid the real world where things go wrong and people get hurt? Do I think about things too much?

Paleo was a big breakthrough for me (coupled with the oil cleansing method and no poo etc) but sometimes I feel that if my mind and body were perfect and there was no room for self improvement or analysis I'd almost have nothing to fill my days with

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2 Answers



on May 04, 2012
at 08:26 PM

Sounds like borderline orthorexia, if you can just get the right version of the diet and right supplements life will be perfect. If you feel like there really is something wrong I'm not going to tell you to not trust your intuition, but yeah as you mentioned when it becomes the crux of your identity that is some serious hypochondria territory.

PH might very well be a hypochondriacs dream, but perhaps if someone is suffering from that particular mental illness, paleo could help it lessen over time as they started to feel better and feel more like using their body instead of waiting for it to malfunction, and in the meantime scratch the hell out of the mental itch of contemplating every possible body failure scenerio. I sometimes think there is an obsession phase, followed by a burn out phase, and then some sort of healthy medium is finally achieved.

If diet and supplements aren't delivering what you hoped, I'd say it is time for some outdoor sports. Enough with the diet, go for a hike or kayaking, or MovNat workshop already. Or if you really need a wake up call to life's delights surfing or skydiving.

Perspective is crucial too, I think when someone starts to get too perfectionist about diet and appearance, one of the most important things you can do is to put yourself out there in the very real world. One week in a burn ward, or comforting drug addicted newborns, and the circles under your eyes will seem insignificant. There is still 99.9% of you that is perfect and functional, so get out there and use it, otherwise you are just wasting your life (there are no do-overs). Suck it up, open your front door, and get out there in the realness.



on May 04, 2012
at 08:28 PM

I think you have to make the same cost/benefit evaluations with diet as you do anything else.

At some point, more isn't better, but that point will be different for different people.

Having an "optimal" diet isn't the same as, and may even be detrimental to, having an optimal life.

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