Hypochondria is often mocked and joked about, but these fears are not funny at all. Left untreated, they can cause great suffering and high costs, and there is even evidence that fears of illness can shorten life. Hypo-chondros means below the cartilage. The ancient Greeks thought that the source of the ailment was found below the rib cartilage, more specifically in the spleen. Which, of course, seems a bit bizarre today. In the course of time, the term has acquired a negative meaning. In the sense of an imaginary disease. And this is also wrong. Today, instead of hypochondria, we speak of illness anxiety or Illness Anxiety Disorder or Health Anxiety. It is an "official" illness. It is described in ICD 10, 11 as well as in DSM IV, V. The definitions are similar even if there are differences in the details.
On these pages, the clinical picture, its causes, explanatory models and treatment options are discussed.