Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Hypochondriasis Overview

What is hypochondriasis?
A person with hypochondriasis has a mental illness that results in an abnormal fear of illness. The person is preoccupied with his or her physical health. Despite reassurances by a doctor, the person is convinced he or she is ill. Hypochondriasis is most common in those who are 30 to 40 years old, and the illness is difficult to treat. The cause of hypochondriasis is unknown.

What are the symptoms of hypochondriasis?
The symptoms of hypochondriasis often interrupt normal daily activities, making it difficult for the person to function effectively. Symptoms of hypochondriasis include excessive fear of disease, preoccupation with health, and a firm conviction that one has a disease despite normal medical evaluations.

How does the doctor treat hypochondriasis?
Treatment for hypochondriasis may include mental health counseling, group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and antidepressant medications.

Continue to Hypochondriasis Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Hypochondriasis References
  1. Barsky AJ, Ahern DK. Cognitive behavior therapy for hypochondriasis: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2004 Mar 24;291(12):1464-70. [15039413]
  2. Creed F, Barsky A. A systematic review of the epidemiology of somatisation disorder and hypochondriasis. J Psychosom Res. 2004 Apr;56(4):391-408. [15094023]
  3. Hiller W, Leibbrand R, Rief W, Fichter MM. Differentiating hypochondriasis from panic disorder. J Anxiety Disord. 2005;19(1):29-49. [15488366]
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