Medical Definition of Hypochondriac

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Hypochondriac: A person who has hypochondriasis, a disorder characterized by a preoccupation with body functions and the interpretation of normal body sensations (such as sweating) or minor abnormalities (such as minor aches and pains) as portending problems of major medical moment. Reassurance by physicians and others only serves to increase the hypochondriac's persistent anxiety about their health.

The hypochondrium is the anatomic area of the upper abdomen just below (Greek "hypo" meaning "below") the cartilage (Greek "chondros" meaning "cartilage") of the ribs. Hypochondriasis was thought by the ancients to be due to disturbed function of the spleen and other organs in the upper abdomen.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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