Chapter

Hypochondriasis (health anxiety)

Russell Noyes Jr.

in New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199696758
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743221 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199696758.003.0131
Hypochondriasis (health anxiety)

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Hypochondriasis is a preoccupation with the fear that one has, or may develop, serious disease despite evidence to the contrary. So defined, the disorder affects between 2 and 7 per cent of patients attending general medical clinics and is a cause of physical dysfunction and disability. It is also a reason for increased health care utilization and dissatisfaction with care received. To their physicians, patients with this disorder are an enigma and a source of frustration. Unfortunately, relatively little is known about hypochondriasis. Primary care physicians have had little interest and psychiatrists see few patients with the condition. It is a pejorative label that, even if entertained, is rarely communicated. And, even if communicated, the diagnosis would not, until very recently, have led to effective treatment.

Chapter.  6739 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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