Hypochondriasis some times called health anxiety is an illness in which patient is preoccupied with fear of having a serious disease. This type of thinking persists despite all negative investigations and reassurance. He misinterprets various normal bodily sensations or mild physical symptoms as signs of serious disease. Patient often involves in self examining behaviour e.g. monitors pulse rate, blood pressure examining skin lesions or body parts.
Any body area may be involved although symptoms relating to chest, abdomen, head or neck are particularly common.
Hypochodriac symptoms can be secondary to anxiety, depression, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder or panic disorder. Hypochondriac delusions can occur in schizophrenia.
It is important that one doctor usually GP takes lead role and make sure that patients physical symptoms gets necessary investigation but once serious pathology ruled out then unnecessary investigations are avoided. Mainstay of treatment is psychosocial. CBT(Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is found to be helpful.