Explanatory Therapy in Hypochondriasis
J Clin Psychiatry 2000;61(4):317-322
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate
the effectiveness of individual explanatory therapy in
Method: Twenty patients with DSM-IV
hypochondriasis were randomly assigned to 2 groups. One received
explanatory therapy and was assessed again after a 6-month
follow-up. The other was first assigned to a waiting list and
subsequently treated with explanatory therapy. All patients
received usual medical care from their physicians. Assessments
involved both observer and self-rated instruments.
Results: In both groups, explanatory therapy was
significantly associated with a reduction of hypochondriacal
fears and beliefs, improvement in affective disturbances and
anxiety sensitivity, and a decrease in health care utilization.
Therapeutic gains were maintained at follow-up. Substantial
residual symptomatology, however, remained.
Conclusion: The results suggest that
hypochondriasis is a treatable condition and that explanatory
therapy is a viable therapeutic tool. Further research should
disclose the actual components of the mechanism of change in