Explanatory Therapy in Hypochondriasis

Giovanni A. Fava, Silvana Grandi, Chiara Rafanelli, Stefania Fabbri, and Manuela Cazzaro

Published: September 30, 2000

Article Abstract

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
hypochondriacal patients.

Volume: 61

Quick Links: Anxiety , Phobic Disorders

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