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As I got in I was almost in tears. I sat there and I was shaking and I couldn't breathe
—Stephanie Huynh, a woman with ISD[1]

Illness anxiety disorder (ISD), also called health anxiety[2] or hypochondria,[3] is a relatively common disorder in which a person worries excessively about their health. This sometimes can be classified as self-diagnosis, but that's sort of a grey area. This is a genuine mental illness that often causes constant suffering for those who have this illness.[4] They struggle with relationships, simple daily activities and keeping a job.[4]

It shares similarities to obsessive-compulsive disorder.Wikipedia's W.svg Sufferers have persistent fears of potential illnesses and compulsions. They often compulsively visit the doctor.[5] Approximately 75 to 85% of people with illness anxiety disorder have depression, anxiety or another mental illness.[4]

This condition is often lifelong.[6]

Symptoms of illness anxiety disorder[edit]

  • Worrying about your health condition
  • Frequently visiting the doctor in order to find out if you're ill
  • Avoiding certain areas out of fear of infection
  • Being alarmed about health test results
  • Compulsively googling symptoms
  • Reassurance is ineffective at reducing anxiety about health concerns



See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Is it possible to think yourself sick? SBS
  2. [1] NHS Choices
  3. DSM-5 redefines hypochondriasis Mayo Clinic
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Hypochondriasis University of Maryland Medical Center
  5. Hypochondriasis Harvard Health Publications
  6. Illness anxiety disorder Medline Plus Gov
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Hypochondriasis Cleveland Clinic
  8. 8.0 8.1 Health Check: how do you know if you’re obsessed with your health? The Conversation