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Hypochondriasis

Etiology11

There are many who suggest that unconscious aggressive impulses are transferred to physical complaints and that individuals with this disorder are more likely to misinterpret these symptoms as representing a more serious condition. There is little research which substantiates any particular etiology, however.

Symptoms

Preoccupation with fears of having a serious disease based upon a misinterpretation of bodily sensations. The preoccupation exists despite assurance from a physician that the individual does not have a serious disease.

Treatment

Therapy is difficult with individuals with this disorder due to their strong belief that the symptoms are not psychological. Sometimes reframing therapy as ‘stress-reduction training’ can assist in the acceptance of help.

Prognosis

Somewhat poor. The course of hypochondriasis is typically chronic, with periods of higher functioning.