Hypochondriasis

The obsessive behavior, where a person believes that any minor ailment they may have is an underlying fatal illness, which results from extreme anxiety.
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Symptoms

  • Having long-term anxiety about a serious disease or health condition
  • Believing that any minor symptom is really a much more serious health concern
  • Visiting Doctors repeatedly, and switching Doctors after they don't diagnose a serious illness
  • Obsessively researching disease symptoms
  • Thinking you have a disease after hearing or reading about it
  • Constantly checking for irregularities of the body
  • Constantly confiding to friends and family of your suspected diseases

Treatment

  • Going to see a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor
  • Medications such as Prozac, Paxil, or Luvox
  • The patient should only have on primary health care provider to avoid taking too many tests
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Why is it a Problem?

  • It can interfere with work and relationships, because of the obsessive nature of the disease, which may result in skipping work or school
  • Can cause depression
  • Can lead to substance abuse
  • Can lead to excessive anger
  • This disease is chronic

Statistics
  • Occurs equally in men and women
  • Can appear at any age, but most often sprouts during young adulthood
  • 30% of patients treated improve significantly
  • 75-80% of people with hypochondriasis also have anxiety, depression or another mental illness

Risk Factors

Increases the Chance of Hypochondriasis...
  • Having a serious illness during childhood, or being close to someone with a serious disease
  • Losing a loved one
  • Having an anxiety disorder
  • Having neglectful or abusive parents
  • Feeling vulnerable to illness
  • Previously being sexually or physically abused.



Watch this video for more on hypochondriasis

Web Links


Word Bank
  • Chronic-hypochondriasis is chronic because it can never be cured, only treated, therefore a person will live with it the entirety of their life
  • Ailment-an illness
  • Anxiety-distress of the mind caused by fear
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-a form of psychotherapy