A hypochondriac is a person with hypochondriasis. The modern definition of hypochondriasis is severe anxiety concerning health or fear that death is imminent. Hypochondriasis was a diagnosis at one time, but it is no longer listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM. The official diagnosis is either somatic symptom disorder or health anxiety disorder.
An estimated one out of twenty Americans who seek regular medical care may be hypochondriacs. The numbers are hard to determine accurately. Hypochondria usually starts in young adulthood and affects both men and women. A person may be a hypochondriac without ever realizing it, while some people with physical health problems believe they are hypochondriacs.
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