Hypochondriasis or being a hypochondriac, now known as illness anxiety disorder, is a mental illness defined by excessive worry about having a serious undiagnosed physical illness.
Signs and symptoms[edit | edit source]
- Excessive and persistent health anxiety
- Excessive anxiety about having or developing a serious illness
- No signs or symptoms of illness are present, or any signs and symptoms are mild
- The person is easily alarmed about their health
- Illness preoccupation lasts at least 6 months
- Symptoms significantly effect the person's functioning, which may include the impact of the cost of care-seeking behaviors
- Symptoms are not better explained by another mental health condition, e.g. an anxiety disorder, OCD, or panic disorder
Care-seeking type[edit | edit source]
- Medical care is frequently used, e.g. when no signs or symptoms of illness can be found
- "Doctor shopping" - frequently seeing different doctors and not feeling any reassurance when doctors do not find serious illness
- Requesting many multiple tests or investigations without medical justification
- Excessive and repetitive checking for signs or symptoms of illness
Care-avoidant type[edit | edit source]
- Medical care is rarely used, may include maladaptive avoidance of doctors and hospitals when care is needed
- Excessive fears that medical tests or doctors will find a serious illness, resulting in avoiding care
A mix of care-seeking and care-avoidance behaviors[edit | edit source]
- This may also occur
Treatment[edit | edit source]
ME/CFS[edit | edit source]
According to the Institute of Medicine, ME/CFS is a serious, chronic, and complex physical disease. It is not associated with increased rates of illness anxiety or unhelpful/problematic illness beliefs and behaviors.
Notable articles[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
Learn more[edit | edit source]
- Illness Anxiety Disorder - Statpearls
References[edit | edit source]
- French, Jennifer H.; Hameed, Sajid (2021). Illness Anxiety Disorder. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. PMID 32119286.
- Newby, Jill M.; Hobbs, Megan J.; Mahoney, Alison E.J.; Wong, Shiu (Kelvin); Andrews, Gavin (October 1, 2017). "DSM-5 illness anxiety disorder and somatic symptom disorder: Comorbidity, correlates, and overlap with DSM-IV hypochondriasis". Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 101: 31–37. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.07.010. ISSN 0022-3999.
- American Psychiatric Association, ed. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5 ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing. p. 315. ISBN 0890425574.
- Institute of Medicine (2015). Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illness. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/19012. ISBN 0309316898. PMID 25695122.