Confessions of a Hypochondriac
Hypochondria is a belief that physical symptoms are signs of a serious illness, even when there is no medical evidence to support the presence of an illness.
People with hypochondria are overly focused on their physical health. They have an unrealistic fear of having a serious disease. This disorder occurs equally in men and women.
The way people with hypochondria think about their physical symptoms can make them more likely to have this condition. As they focus on and worry about physical sensations, a cycle of symptoms and worry begins, which can be difficult to stop.
It is important to realize that people with hypochondria do not purposely create these symptoms (malingering). They are unable to control the symptoms.
People who have a history of physical or sexual abuse are more likely to have this disorder. However, this does not mean that every person with a hypochondria disorder has a history of abuse.
People with hypochondria are unable to control their fears and worries. They often believe any symptom or sensation is a sign of a serious illness.
They seek out reassurance from family, friends, or health care providers on a regular basis. They feel better for a short time at most, and then begin to worry about the same symptoms, or about new symptoms.
Symptoms may shift and change, and are often vague. People with hypochondria often examine their own body.
Those who are affected may recognize that their fear of having a serious disease is unreasonable or unfounded.