Hypochondriasis is characterized by intensive fears of serious disease. Most patients with hypochondriasis worry about physical diseases like cancer, although in rare cases, patients report severe fears of mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia), a phenomenon described in the literature as mental hypochondriasis. However, little is known about this rare subtype of hypochondriasis and experts have questioned whether mental hypochondriasis has much in common with the type of hypochondriasis in which somatic diseases are the focus of preoccupation. This paper presents, a case report of a woman with a fear of schizophrenia, which was treated with cognitive therapy. This patient fulfills the DSM-IV criteria of hypochondriasis and exhibits many characteristics (e.g., selective attention, safety behavior) considered to be maintaining factors in well-established cognitive-behavioral models of hypochondriasis. Cognitive treatment strategies for hypochondriasis (e.g., attention training, behavioral experiments) also proved effective in this case of mental hypochondriasis.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 10, 2013
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