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.