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Hypochondriasis (health anxiety) 

Hypochondriasis (health anxiety)
Chapter:
Hypochondriasis (health anxiety)
Author(s):

Russell Noyes Jr.

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199696758.003.0131
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date: 23 August 2019

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.

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