I have to admit, one of the reasons that I hesitate to go to the doctor, is for fear that they won't find anything wrong with me, and think that I'm a hypochondriac, or at least that I have some of those tendencies. Do you ever feel this way, too?
I found a great article on NPR from the author of Well Enough Alone, Jennifer Traig, who talks about her hypochondria in a slightly humorous and intriguing way. She is very aware of her real (and imagined) health woes, and says that the doctors are as well; the doctors have a phrase they refer to as "the organ recital": referring to the litany of abstract complaints from their patients.
In my quest to learn more about Hypochondriasis as more than a punchline to a joke, as a real disorder, I found that there is not much information! It is classified as a psychological or personality disorder, with treatment ranging from insuring there are no real physical ailments, followed by psychological assessment and treatment.
Symptoms from MedlinePlus include:
* Preoccupation with fear of illness
* Persistent fear of having a serious illness despite medical reassurance
* Misinterpretation of symptoms
* Symptoms that may shift and change
* Symptoms that may be vague or specific (see somatoform pain disorder)
* No apparent physical disorder that can account for symptoms
* Disturbance lasting for at least 6 months (24 weeks)
Do you know anyone with hypochondria? I would love to hear about this disorder through someone's experience. The author I mentioned above writes beautifully about her disorder, and as a "teaser" starts out with her excerpt saying, "I had my first heart attack when I was eighteen..."
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