Help for Hypochondria


According to his doctor, Rich David is a healthy 32-year-old man. Yet for years, David has believed otherwise. All it takes is a hypochondriac,” says David. “But when I get obsessed with a symptom, I can’t shake the feeling that this time I really am sick.”

Some experts compare hypochondria with anxiety disorders, especially obsessive-compulsive disorder. Just as someone with worrying and checking.

Hypochondria is hard to treat, but experts have made progress. Several studies show that using medications are also used to treat the disorder. Barsky and other researchers say that cognitive-behavioral therapy also works. With a therapist, hypochondriacs can learn to challenge their assumptions and change their behavior. Barsky encourages patients to be honest with their doctors about their anxiety and to agree on a regular checkup every few months, instead of making emergency appointments every time they get freaked out.

David says that seeing a specialist — and getting therapy and medication — has helped him. “I’m not cured,” he says, “but it’s made a difference.”