What is Hypochondriasis?
Hypochondriasis is described as the obsessive, persistent fear of having a serious medical condition. A person with hypochondriasis (referred to as a hypochondriac) exhibits the characteristics of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and is preoccupied with his or her physical health.
Hypochondriacs tend to believe the worst possible scenario concerning their health. A person with Hypochondriasis might consult physician after physician and remain unsatisfied, even after numerous medical evaluations have declared a clean bill of health.
People with this condition begin to distrust medical professionals, yet they keep searching for "the one" who will diagnose them with a fatal disease (ironically, this is what they fear most).
This obsession with the belief that they are suffering from a serious illness impacts negatively on the lives of hypochondriacs and interferes with their normal functioning. They become completely distressed and anxious, and their daily lives and interpersonal relationships suffer deeply.
This condition has often been linked to underlying emotional issues such as a preoccupation with death or a life-changing event. Hypochondriasis can occur at any age, but it tends to start during adolescence. Men and women are equally affected.