Hypochondriasis some times called health anxiety is an illness in which patient is preoccupied with fear of having a serious disease. This type of thinking persists despite all negative investigations and reassurance. He misinterprets various normal bodily sensations or mild physical symptoms as signs of serious disease. Patient often involves in self examining behaviour e.g. monitors pulse rate, blood pressure examining skin lesions or body parts.
Any body area may be involved although symptoms relating to chest, abdomen, head or neck are particularly common.
The symptoms cause them great distress. As people become increasingly concerned with health issues, personal relationships and work performance often suffer.

Hypochodriac symptoms can be secondary to anxiety, depression, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder or panic disorder. Hypochondriac delusions can occur in schizophrenia.

Examination and reassurance by a doctor do not relieve the concerns of people with hypochondriasis. They tend to believe that the doctor has somehow failed to find the underlying disorder.

It is important that one doctor usually GP takes lead role and make sure that patients physical symptoms gets necessary investigation but once serious pathology ruled out then unnecessary investigations are avoided. Mainstay of treatment is psychosocial. CBT(Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is found to be helpful. However if root problem is depression or depression comorbid with hypochondriasis then antdepressants are given. If however hypochondriacal preoccupation is due to psychotic illness then antipsychotics are prescribed.However in primary hypochondriasis Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is effective.

Hypochondriasis often persists, lasting years. In some people, it comes and goes. Some people recover completely.

Author's Bio: 

Our Consultant Psychiatrists specialises in assesment and treatment for the full range of psychiatric disorders including Assessment, Diagnosis, Treatment plans, Psychological treatment, Counselling and prescribe Medications. http://www.londonpsychiatricclinic.org

Dr. Amir Bashir is a consultant psychiatrist , member of Royal College of Psychiatrists. He has 23 years of experience in psychiatry and is registered with GMC UK as a specialist. He is a member of American Psychiatric Association as well as Eurpean Psychiatric Association. He offers private consultation through London Psychiatric Clinic in Surrey and Harley street