HealthLeader

An Online Wellness Magazine produced by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)

The Reality of Hypochondria

The not-so funny side of the disorder you’ve seen portrayed on screen

The Reality of Hypochondria

We love to laugh at the geeky, constantly sniffling, hand-wringing hypochondriac portrayed on TV and in movies.

Admit it: It’s fun to watch The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon manically overreact when he’s convinced he has an untraceable disease, or Woody Allen, the undisputed king of hypochondriacs, going berserk over a buzzing noise in his ear (“I got the classic symptoms of a brain tumor!”).

But absent laugh tracks and one-liners, the disorder isn’t as amusing in real life. Hypochondria causes intense mental and physical distress, and leads to unnecessary doctor visits and tests and missed school and work. It seriously limits life.

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