Hypochondria takes place when an individual experiences fear or distress when misinterpreting their bodily symptoms to be something serious (Belling, 2012).


It is generally unclear why a person may experience hypochondria, however, there are some occasions where it is more common, for example:

  • Some having experiences major stress, illness or a death in the family
  • An individual who experiences any form of abuse or neglect as a child
  • Pre-existing mental health issue such as anxiety, depression, a compulsive disorder or any other psychological illness
  • Someone with a serious physical illness
  • Someone with a pessimistic personality type, who views everything in a negative light


  • Excessive thoughts about having a serious illness
  • Frequent doctor visits, but not accepting reassurances
  • Trying to undergo multiple medical tests
  • Health being discussed a lot with friends and family
  • Studying symptoms on the internet excessively
  • Sleep related issues
  • Experiencing issues with family, work and social lives because of health concerns.


In most cases, a doctor would carry out a health exam to ensure the person is not truly suffering with any illness or disease. Then the following could happen:

  • Providing clear and honest acknowledgement of the causes of concern
  • Giving them advice and self-help resources
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Referring the person to a counselor or psychologist, to treat any related anxiety or depression
  • Prescribing medication such as antidepressants to reduce anxiety.

References: Belling, C., (2012). A condition of doubt: The meanings of hypochondria. Oxford University Press.

If you would like some more information on hypochondria, please watch this really informative video:

How To Deal With Health Anxiety and Hypochondria - YouTube

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