Medical Definition of Hypochondria

  • 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.

Hypochondria:1. Excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness. Also known as a health phobia or anxiety. Patients having this disorder are known as hypochondriacs. Such patients may become alarmed about even minor physical symptoms, which they interpret as representing significant health problems. Synonym for the disorder officially called hypochondriasis. 2. The plural of hypochondrium, referring to both sides of upper abdomen just below the rib cage.

The ancients believed hypochondriasis was due to disturbed function of the organs of the upper abdomen.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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