Hypochondriasis is a persistent fear of having a serious medical illness.
Hypochondriasis appears to occur equally in men and women. A person with this disorder tends to interpret normal sensations, bodily functions and mild symptoms as a sign of an illness with a grim outcome. Hypochondriasis can begin at any age, but the most common age of onset is early adulthood.
Some people with hypochondriasis also have depression or anxiety. In hypochondriasis, the person’s concerns about having a serious disease are often based on a misinterpretation of normal bodily functions.
People with hypochondriasis tend to misinterpret normal body sensations as being signs of serious illness.
Most people occasionally fear they have an illness, but people with hypochondriasis are preoccupied with their fear, which is severe and persistent and interferes with work as well as relationships. People with hypochondriasis are not faking or lying about their symptoms; they truly believe they are sick.
Hypochondriasis is in some ways similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Hypochondriasis tends to be a chronic condition that can last for years. In many cases, symptoms can recur.
There is no known way to prevent hypochondriasis.
However, providing the person with an understanding and supporting environment might help decrease the severity of the symptoms and help him or her better cope with the disorder.
Some people with this disorder have had a serious illness in the past, particularly in childhood.
Symptoms may become more intense after a stressful event, for example, the death of a loved one.
Treatment is difficult, because a person with hypochondriasis is convinced that something inside the body is seriously wrong.
Treatment with serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of antidepressants, may be effective.
Cognitive-behavior therapy may also relieve symptoms.
Causes of Hypochondriasis
The common causes and risk factor’s of Hypochondriasis:
- The exact cause of hypochondriasis is not known.
- An inherited susceptibility for the disorder.
- Having overly protective parents that focused too much on your minor health problems.
- A history of physical or sexual abuse.
Symptoms of Hypochondriasis
Some sign and symptom related to Hypochondriasis are as follows:
- Symptoms that may be vague or specific.
- Abdominal bloating.
- Preoccupation with fear of illness.
- The person’s symptoms or area of concern might shift or change.
- Crampy discomfort.
Treatment of Hypochondriasis
- Antidepressant or anti-anxiety drugs are sometimes used if a person with hypochondriasis also has a mood disorder or anxiety disorder.
- Psychotherapy, particularly in a group with other such patients, can be effective, but hypochondriacs are generally very resistant to this type of treatment.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you identify thoughts that contribute to fears about illness and to correct the misinterpretation of body sensations.