Hypochondria: Mental Vs. Physical
Imagine every symptom you had ever experienced was a sign of illness. Every bruise or mole was a developing skin cancer, every headache was a tumor growing within your brain, and every itch was due to a result of scabies. A small percentage of people in the United States often obsess over such health phobias that physicians distinguish as hypochondria, an excessive worry or talk about one's health ("Dictionary.com", 2), also known as hypochondriasis, an excessive preoccupation with one's health, usually focusing on some particular symptom, as cardiac or gastric problems ("Dictionary.com", 1). Hypochondria is often misunderstood as a physical illness, rather than a mental illness, resulting in a hypochondriac's refusal to see a psychiatrist (Tanner). When seeking treatment, Hypochondriacs lean toward physicians for medicines of some sort, while doctors determine the real treatment is associated through a psychiatrist's care to help lead the patient toward believing the illness is mental, not physical. Hypochondriacs excessively associate experienced symptoms with having illnesses which are most likely not present, nor are likely to persist. After surveying 30 individuals at random (15 male and 15 female), a total of 8 people claimed to suffer or have suffered from hypochondria based on their own diagnosis. Physicians diagnose hypochondria in terms of the number of compaints a patient has of experiancing symptoms of illness ("Medical News Today"). "Hypochondria" derives from the Greek term, hypochondros, hypo (below), chondros (cartilage of the breast bone) which was first recorded in 1888 by a Greek physician who used the term to describe unknown stomach pains caused by movement of the spleen located near the hypo chondrium (the upper region of the abdomen just below the ribs). By the nineteenth century, "hypochondria" became the equivalent to the term "hysteria", a diagnostic label applied to a state of mind, one of unmanageable...
Cited: "Anxiety / Phobias News." What is Hypochondria?. 27 June 2006. Medical news today.
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"Hypochondria." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1). Based on the Random House
Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006. 16 Oct. 2006.
Tanner, Lindsey. "Promising Hypochondria Treatment." CBS NEWS . 23 MAR 2004
1-2. 26 OCT 2006. .
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