March 28, 2011

What is Hypochondria and It’s Symptoms

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

If you are wondering what Hypochondria is, you need to know that it is a mental condition. In this condition people believe themselves to have, or to be prone to, a serious disease or health condition. A Hypochondriac is a person suffering from Hypochondria. Hypochondria is also known as hypochondriasis, health anxiety or health phobia. A hypochondriac would be worried about the simplest of physical symptoms. They may be worried in general or they may focus on a particular symptom, or particular disease. It is common for a hypochondriac to focus on a particular organ or part of the body and use exaggerated and uncommon phrases when describing their ailment. Even after a complete medical diagnosis, unfortunately, a hypochondriac still continues to believe that he is unwell or is going to be unwell. A physician may assure a patient that their hypochondriac pain symptoms do not have an underlying disease, but the anxiety does not reduce. If there actually is a disease, they may be informed that the medical condition they are suffering from is not serious, again to no avail. Hypochondria causes the patient to believe that his physician does not truly understand him or is apathetic towards his ailments.

Hypochondria affects both men and women in equal proportions. Hypochondria is real: approximately 6 to 8% of the American population is affected by hypochondria today. It is most common in younger adults between 20 and 30 years of age. Unfortunately, hypochondriac symptoms in children are also increasing. Although hypochondria’s exact cause is not yet known, there are a few generally accepted theories. An important thing to remember about hypochondria is that it is a series of episodes and not one single incident. Hypochondriacs also generally suffer from depression and anxiety. It is possible that people who are naturally hypersensitive to internal stimuli are prone to hypochondria. Hypochondria may also have a tendency to run in families. It has been observed that nearly one tenth of the people suffering from hypochondria are relatives of hypochondriacs. Also, people who have suffered form an organic disease may be prone to hypochondria. Hypochondria may be caused in adults due to a strong need to be looked after or due to self-centeredness as well. In children however, the cause of hypochondria may simply be the effect of the physical symptoms of their family members as children tend to mimic others.

Hypochondriac symptoms can be quite diverse. Patients may complain of many different ailments and problems or focus on any one single issue. The patient is usually able to describe the hypochondriac pain and symptom in minute detail. However, such symptoms are generally not considered to be abnormal or associated with any disease. People suffering from hypochondria would generally suffer show signs like anger, frustration, anxiety and depression. They would also focus abnormally on regular day to day bodily sensations and functions. Hypochondriacs also visit their physicians very frequently; despite being assured that they are healthy. They are also in a state of denial and they are unable to accept the idea that their symptoms could be a result of stress and anxiety. A notable factor about hypochondria is that the patients tend to experience more or intensified symptoms when they have the company of sympathetic and understanding people. Hypochondria can be treated. About 5% of the people suffering from hypochondria get completely treated. Hypochondria treatment focuses on controlling the anxiety and stress and allowing the patient to lead a normal life. Diagnosing a person as a hypochondriac itself can help them to ease the anxiety to a certain extent, although the disorder remains. Usually, hypochondriacs do not respond well to psychiatric treatment as they believe their problem is not stress related and thus they tend to resist such treatments.