Hypochondriasis disorder is mental health problem in which people have physical symptoms with a psychological cause. They fear and worry about having a serious disease. They believe that mild body symptoms mean they have a major medical problem.
Hypochondriasis can start at any age. It usually starts during the young adult years. Often the person has been worried about medical complaints for a long time.
Symptoms of this disorder include:
Millions of people in the US have hypochondriasis disorder. Most deny it. Many believe they are not getting good medical care.
A therapist or healthcare provider will ask you about your symptoms and how long you have had them. He or she will ask how they affect your daily life.
You may also have other mental health problems. The most common are depression, anxiety, and personality disorders. Often you have many surgeries and medical treatments without getting better before you are diagnosed.
Psychiatric medicines may help manage the symptoms, especially if you have anxiety, depression, or obsessions (ideas that you can't stop thinking about).
Counseling and psychotherapy are also helpful. You may need to explore possible benefits from being seen as sick. For example, you may get extra attention and care from family and friends. Or you may avoid work or other responsibilities by being sick. Family members may also find counseling useful.
Hypochondriasis can last for years. You may improve a great deal with treatment.
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