12. tbl. 96.árg. 2010

Health anxiety – increased knowledge and treatment options

Heilsukvíði - aukin þekking og meðferðarmöguleikar

Patients with hypochondriasis are preoccupied with the fear or belief that they have a serious, undiagnosed disease. This concern derives from misinterpretations of benign physical sensations, and persists despite appropriate reassurance to the contrary. They have, on average, disproportionately high rates of visits to physicians, specialty consultations, laboratory tests, and surgical procedures, as well as high health care costs. Despite this extensive medical attention, they find their care unsatisfactory, which is understandable, as convincing alternative explanations to their ailments are repeatedly delayed. Physicians, in turn, may feel discouraged and frustrated in relation to these individuals where their best efforts to help often prove ineffective or are even rejected. Recent scientific studies have shown that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are effective treatment options for health anxiety as demonstrated in clinical trials.

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