Hypochondriasis, also known as Illness Anxiety Disorder, is a type of anxiety disorder where the patient shows excessive worrying with regards to being sick, without physical symptoms. The patient may believe that they have a severe underlying illness even if they experience normal to mild bodily sensations.  


  • Always worrying about having a disease or severe health condition 
  • Worrying that minor symptoms are indications of a severe health problem 
  • Easily concerned about health status 
  • Still having a lot of doubts even after doctor visits 
  • Worrying excessively about a specific condition because it runs in the family 

  • Distress and worrying affects daily functioning  
  • Frequent medical visits to get reassurance from the doctor 
  • Avoidance of people or places for fear of health risks  
  • Constantly talking about health or possible illnesses  


  • Family history of severe illnesses 
  • Parental influence – parents could have been very health conscious  
  • Past experiences – always falling sick as a child, end up worrying a lot about health in adulthood  

Risk Factors: 

  • Stress 
  • Threat of serious illness that was not actually severe 
  • Childhood Trauma 
  • Past experience of serious illnesses as a child or had a parent with serious illness 

  • Neurotic personality trait  


  • Emotional distress 
  • Financial burden due to frequent visits to the doctor and medical bills 

  • Impact on daily functioning – inability to focus, consistent worrying 
  • Stress on family or relationships due to excessive worrying 
  • Comorbid with another mental health disorder e.g. Depression, Anxiety Disorder etc. 

Types of Treatment: 

  • Anxiety medications 
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy  
  • Relational Therapy  

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