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What is Hypochondriasis?

Hypochondriasis is described as a type of somatoform disorder or mental illness where a person has symptoms of medical illness. The symptoms cannot be fully explained by actual physical disorder, but researchers consider this as an anxiety disorder.

People with hypochondriasis are worried about getting a disease or are certain they have a disease even after medical tests show they do not.  Hypochondriasis can occur at any time in life. It affects men and women equally.

Symptoms of hypochondriasis:

  • Pain
  • Tiredness
  • Concerns about normal functions

Warning signs:

  •  Doctor shopping
  •  Recent loss
  •  Overly concerned about an organ system; area of concern might shift
  •  Doctor’s reassurance does not calm patient fears
  •  Serious illness as a child
  •  Concerns about illness interfering with activities of daily living
  •  Suffering from anxiety, nervousness or depression

Causes of hypochondriasis:

  •  History of physical or sexual abuse
  •  Difficulty expressing one’s emotions
  •  Family history

Treatment of hypochondriasis:

  •  Psychotherapy
  •  Medications
  •  Supportive care

To learn more about Dr. Cotler or to schedule an appointment, please call us on (713) 523-8884 or visit

Howard B. Cotler, MD, FACS, FAAOS is board certified and recertified in Orthopedic Surgery. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery and the American College of Surgeons.

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