Illness anxiety disorder is preoccupation with having or acquiring a serious disorder.
- Individuals are so worried that they are or might become ill that they become very distressed and have difficulty functioning.
- Medical professionals diagnose the disorder if individuals continue to worry about having or getting a serious disorder after a thorough evaluation has ruled out serious disorders.
- A relationship with a supportive, trusted medical professional can help, as can cognitive-behavioural therapy.
Illness anxiety disorder used to be called hypochondria, but that term was abandoned because of its negative connotations.
This disorder most commonly begins during early adulthood and appears to affect men and women equally.
Individual may become overly anxious because they misinterpret insignificant physical symptoms or normal bodily functions (such as awareness of the heart’s beating).