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Hypochondria
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Hypochondria

Hypochondria (sometimes hypochondriasis) is the unfounded belief that one is suffering from a serious illness. Hypochondria is often associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hypochondria can also be brought on by stress.

Hypochondriacs are a severe problem to the health system as they use up much of doctors' time and in taking unneeded blood tests, MRIs and such waste valuable resouces and time. Some hypochondriacs will even be subjected to unnecessary exploratory surgery or treatments that can endanger their health.

It should be noted that in some cases hypochondria is misdiagnosed when the patient is indeed unwell, but the physician is unable to diagnose the real illness. For this reason, a patient's condition should be thoroughly investigated before diagnosing hypochondria.

Hypochondria was originally a term used for unidentifiable stomach pains that were a common concern in the ancient world. Eventually the term evolved to be the male counterpart to hysteria during the nineteenth century.

There has been some evidence that anti-depressants can alleviate severe hypochondria.

See also