Hypochondriacal Concerns: Management Through Understanding



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The medically unexplained complaint is often a symptom of hypochondriacal concerns. Patients with hypochondriasis may be managed with either naive realism or consideration of morbid categorization or via dimensional assessment of illness beliefs and behaviors. Naive realism will foster focus somatization and promote regression as well as lead to needless tests and treatments. Attention to categorical entities such a major depression or anxiety disorders will alert the clinician to comorbid psychiatric disorders that respond to traditional psychiatric treatments. Finally, by assessing the domains of illness behaviors such as disease conviction, beliefs in organic versus psychological causes, and denial, the clinician can document and then confront abnormal cognitive schema that revolve around somatic concerns that are a proxy for psychosocial difficulties.

Primary Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2000;2(4):117-121