A bit more on this topic. I'm currently teaching a course on diary-writing, using a textbook by Tristine Rainer called THE NEW DIARY. In it, she describes how writing in a journal (a small book she carried everywhere, literally) helped her kick her addiction to cigarettes. She'd pull it out when she wanted a cigarette, noted the time, and what she was thinking or feeling or doing that made her want the cigarette. She claims that eventually it helped her quit. I thought about this in terms of CBT, and of health addiction. For the last week, I've been carrying around a small notebook in my pocket, and jotting down every time a health anxiety thought enters my head, and have been examining what brings them on. As per usual, it's when I'm lonely or have too much time on my hands. My "symptoms" disappear when I'm busy. I was on campus all day on Wednesday, teaching, having meetings, auditioning students for a play...and I had no anxiety whatsoever. It's only this evening, when I'm home alone, that it reappears. Not a coincidence. The journaling is helping me to recognize that. Also, I find that bluntly asking myself the following question in the journal really helps: "What exactly are you avoiding by focusing on health anxiety?" Once I've identified what it is, I then write, "Now go do that." I find that it's helping, slowly.