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A somatoform disorder characterized by pathological hypochondria, intense preoccupation and worry about apparently normal somatic sensations or physical signs, which are interpreted as symptoms of a serious illness, in spite of appropriate medical investigation and reassurance that the fear is groundless. In most severe cases the preoccupation can become a hypochondriacal delusional disorder involving a false belief that a disease is present. Also called health anxiety disorder. See also medical student syndrome.

Subjects: Psychology.

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