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Canadian Journal of Cardiology

Notes From the Cardiology Clinic: Facing Down the Dragons of Health Anxiety

  • David D. Waters
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author: Dr David Waters, Division of Cardiology, Room 5G1, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, 1001 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, California 94110, USA. Tel.: 415-420-6646.
    Affiliations
    Division of Cardiology, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA
    Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
    Search for articles by this author
Published:April 15, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2020.04.009
      Would you be pleased or displeased to learn that your next new patient is a hypochondriac? Would you perform a complete review of systems and investigate appropriately each new symptom that you uncovered? The term “hypochondriasis” was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5) in 2013, presumably because of the stigma attached to it, and the term “health anxiety” is now commonly used in its place. In 2 representative studies, patients with health anxiety composed 2%-7% and 3%-13% of the medical population.
      • Khare S.
      • Srivastava M.N.
      Validity of current treatment protocols to overcome hypochondriasis.
      As you would expect, these patients consume more health care dollars and physician time than other patients.
      • Fink P.
      • Ørnbøl E.
      • Christensen K.S.
      The outcome of health anxiety in primary care. A two-year follow-up study on health care costs and self-rated health.
      I am sure that you can easily recall at least 1 such patient.
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