Symptoms are health worries that last at least 6 months. They are very upsetting. They may affect social life and work.
Fear of serious illness
Thinking minor symptoms are from serious illness
Many physical complaints that often change
They lead to:
Checking oneself often
Repeat doctor visits and tests
Reading about health often
Changing doctors often
Trying many herbal or natural products
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. If the exam shows no disease, the doctor may order other tests. If no illness is found, the doctor may suspect illness anxiety disorder. Diagnosis is based on fear of illness that lasts:
At least 6 months
Despite negative tests
And is not due to other mental health problems
Illness anxiety disorder is treated with supportive care. A doctor and counselor may work with the patient. The goal is to reduce anxiety and improve functioning.
Antidepressant efficacy in generalized anxiety disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/antidepressant-efficacy-in-generalized-anxiety-disorder . Accessed March 10, 2021.
Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Accessed March 10, 2021.
Illness anxiety disorder. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/somatic-symptom-and-related-disorders/illness-anxiety-disorder. Accessed March 10, 2021.
Scarella TM, Boland RJ, et al. Illness anxiety disorder: psychopathology, epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and treatment. Psychosom Med. 2019;81(5):398-407.
Somatic symptom disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/somatic-symptom-disorder. Accessed March 10, 2021.
Last reviewed January 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 03/10/2021
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