While there are many disorders out there, one that is not as well-known would be hypochondriasis, also known as hypochondria. The rareness of this disorder may be attributed to the fact it typically goes undiagnosed. According to DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000), hypochondria is categorized as a somatoform disorder in Axis I disorders. Axis I disorders found in DSM-IV-TR are described as clinical disorders “that bring most people to the attention of a psychological professional” (Ciccarelli 2011, p. 537; American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Though the disorder is still being researched, there is information out there regarding symptoms, the development, and treatment of hypochondria.
Symptoms of Hypochondria
Hypochondria is characterized by an excessive fear of being ill. Seen in 5% of medical outpatients, a person with hypochondria may make multiple visits to healthcare professionals only to be told that there is absolutely nothing wrong with his or her own health (Barsky and Ahern, 2004). While anyone feeling abnormal symptoms may be concerned about being ill, hypochondriacs spend months concerned about being ill. When the preoccupying fear of being ill lasts longer than 6 months, it’s likely to be hypochondria (Medical News Today, 2009). According to Medical News Today, someone with hypochondria might spend months to years worried about becoming or being ill. In some cases these worries are episodic, arising and being forgotten again, only to return weeks or months later.
Development of Hypochondria
While it is still unclear how hypochondria develops, research has shown comorbidity of hypochondria with other disorders such as depression, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and/...
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...ndria is a disorder that is still being researched. Symptoms of hypochondria are anxiety or fear of being ill that lasts over or longer than a span of 6 months and can be episodic. Hypochondria shares a high rate of comorbidity with other disorders like depression and anxiety, even having overlapping symptoms with obsessive compulsive disorder. Equally as many men and women are believed to develop hypochondria, but it is believed that hypochondria develops during early adulthood more often than any other age. Preexisting illness, genetic disposition to a disease, high media coverage of a disease, illness or death of a loved one can all lead to development of hypochondria. Treatments for hypochondria include CBT and SSRIs. In cases where hypochondria shows comorbidity with another disorder, treatment of the other disorder can help improve the condition of hypochondria.
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