Illness Anxiety Disorder (Hypochondria): Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Hypochondriasis, sometimes referred to as hypochondria or illness anxiety disorder, is a condition characterized by worry over an imagined illness, including exaggeration of symptoms, that lasts for at least six months and causes significant distress. People affected with this condition are referred to as hypochondriacs. Hypochondriacs may seek medical information from a variety of sources and may be distrustful or suspicious when doctors do not confirm their expectations.

Causes of hypochondria (illness anxiety disorder)

The exact cause of hypochondriasis is not well understood, but previous personal and family experiences may play a role in shaping the hypochondriac's beliefs.

Other illness anxiety disorder (hypochondria)

  • Anxiety
  • Avoiding Activities, Places, and People Due to Fear of Illness
  • Compulsive Behaviors
  • Constantly Talking About Health or Illness
  • Distrust of Doctors
  • Exaggeration of Symptoms
  • Excessive Worry
  • Fear of Catching a Disease
  • Finding No Reassurance From Doctors
  • Frequently Checking Body for Signs of Illness
  • Making Frequent Medical Appointments
  • Paranoia About Illness
  • Ruminating


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Kahn, Debra. "Illness Anxiety Disorder (Formerly Hypochondriasis) Differential Diagnoses." Mar. 6, 2018. <>.