Proverbially speaking, “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still”. Such is the case in the typical hypochondria realm, if there is such a thing as typical with hypochondria. If anything, hypochondriacs are atypical in science and medicine. The modern world has come to accept that hypochondriacs are sick, but not with the ailments usually described in a physician’s third or fourth visit with a single patient in less than 10 days. Are they sick? Are they experiencing symptoms that can be backed up with tests and diagnostic equipment? Answers to these questions are controversial at best.
Despite the best efforts of concerned healthcare providers, family and friends, hypochondriacs will not be convinced easily that their concerns are nothing more than ‘a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato’. The medical world up until recently decades viewed people experiencing hypochondria as prognostically well in regards to their complaints; but now views their complaint “as a samatoform complaint that has physical effects unattributable to any other known psychological or physical cause” (Bound, 2006). In layman terms, hypochondrias, not officially a disease is attributed to being a mental affliction. In either case, the debilitating effects of hypochondrias are real to those who live it.
A recently diagnosed hypochondriac Jeff Pearlman (2010) explains that for more than ten years he has known that he was going to die. He was absolutely sure of it. Whether by some type of cancer or minor cut to acute pains; he was dying. Jeff details his typical cycle with this disease,
‘It’s probably nothing’ said one doctor.
‘You likely pulled a muscle’ said another.
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Olatunji, B., Wolitzky-Taylor, K., Elwood, L., Connolly, K., Gonzales, B., & Armstrong, T. (2009). Anxiety Sensitivity and Health Anxiety in a Nonclinical Sample:Specificity and Prospective Relations with Clinical Stress. Cognitive Therapy & Research , 33 (4), 416-424. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from Doi:10.1007/s10608-008-9188-8.
Pearlman, J. (2010). Hypochondria: The Impossible Illness. Psychology Today , 43 (1), 88-93. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from Business Source Premier Database.
The Struggle to Understand Hypochondria. (2010). Psychology Today , 43 (1), 93. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from Business Source Premier Database.
Walker, J., & Furer, P. (2008). Interoceptive Exposure in the Treatment of Health Anxiety and Hypochondriasis. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy , 22 (4), 366-378. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from Doi:10.1891/0889-83188.8.131.526.
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