Hypochondriasis

Kayce Allen Hutton

Basic Description

Hypochondriasis is disorder in which a person believes they have a serious or life-threatening illness despite having little to no symptoms. For people with this condition, going to the doctor does not help relieve the anxiety and their worrying continues.

Causes of Hypochondriasis

Sypmptoms

  • excessive worrying about getting or being sick
  • anxiety or panic attacks
  • paranoia
  • inability to function normally due to worrying
  • repeatedly checking for symptoms of illness
  • avoiding people, places, or activities due to fear of health risks

Diagnosis

The doctor will check for illnesses and may refer the patient to a mental health provider. They will check for preoccupation with illnesses or with personal heath, and whether you have physical symptoms and their severity

Treatments

Psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy) can help identify fears and how to cope with them, reduce checking for illness, and address other mental health disorders, such as depression. This is done by talking to a therapist.

Other treatments include taking antidepressants.

Prognosis

Most people, with the aid of treatment, can improve the amount of anxiety they experience, lessening the symptoms of the disorder. However, long-term complications are common.

Prevalence

There are more than 200,000 reported US cases per year. Some studies place the disorder at 5-9% of the population having it. And, studies show that both men and women have the disorder equally.

Ongoing Research

Doctors today are accusing the internet of making hypochondria worse. People with access to the internet can easily find health information, which has helped many make informed decisions about their health. However, for people who worry a lot, this is very bad. People are now able to self diagnose much more easily, causing more and more anxiety.

Controversies

Hypochondria has controversy surrounding it because of its ties to other disorders, such as anxiety and depression disorders. Because of this connection, it makes it hard to accurately diagnose the disorder.

Interesting Facts/Stories

Some famous people who have or had hypochondria include Abigail Breslin, Howie Mandel, John Green, and Hitler.

Typical hypochondriacs - Buzzfeed's post called, "30 Things Only Hypochondriacs Will Understand." Some of the numbers include phrases like, "Getting a second opinion means checking WebMD AND the Mayo Clinic."

Story - About a girl who thought she was dying of cancer after her toe started throbbing.