Origin of hypochondria
Words nearby hypochondria
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What does hypochondria mean?
Hypochondria was once commonly used as the name of the condition involving constantly and excessively worrying about one’s health, believing that one is or is about to become ill when there is really no reason to believe so. The condition was also formerly called hypochondriasis.
A person who worries in this way was once commonly called a hypochondriac.
However, mental health practitioners have largely stopped using the terms hypochondria and hypochondriac in favor of other terms due to such labels being seen as demeaning. People with the condition are now sometimes diagnosed with illness anxiety disorder. The chronic anxiety that the condition involves is often focused on particular ailments—such as heart or stomach pains—and may even be accompanied by physical symptoms.
It’s normal to wonder if you’re sick when you have a cough or a runny nose, but illness anxiety disorder is recognized as a mental disorder when such worrying becomes constant and excessive, especially when there are no symptoms. In these cases, the anxiety often disrupts a person’s daily life.
The words hypochondriac and hypochondria are still often used in a casual way outside of their use by medical and mental health professionals, such as in the context of a person who frequently becomes convinced that minor pains are a sign of a serious health problem. However, using the words in this way can be insensitive and offensive.
Example: Labeling patients as having hypochondria only stigmatized them—it didn’t do anything to help their underlying anxiety.
Where does hypochondria come from?
The first records of the word hypochondria come from in the mid-1500s , with hypochondriac first being recorded around the early 1600s. The terms ultimately come from the Greek hypokhondria, meaning “under the cartilage (of the upper abdomen).”
Early senses of the words hypochondria and hypochondriac were used in reference to the medieval notion that people’s personalities are based on the balance of four different types of elemental fluids in their body, called humors. An excess of one the so-called humors, black bile, was thought to cause a person to be in a state of gloominess and depression known as melancholy. This melancholy was thought to be seated in the upper abdomen. (The related term hypochondrium is still used in anatomy to refer to one of two regions in the abdomen.)
Eventually, hypochondria came to refer to a condition involving frequent complaints about stomach pains and then to the condition of believing that you have illnesses that you don’t actually have.
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What are some other forms related to hypochondria?
- hypochondriac (noun, adjective)
- hypochondriacal (adjective)
- hypochondriacally (adverb)
What are some synonyms for hypochondria?
What are some words that share a root or word element with hypochondria?
What are some words that often get used in discussing hypochondria?
How to use hypochondria in a sentence
I am not sure if this person is genuinely experiencing chronic pain, suffering from hypochondria or suffering from Munchausen syndrome.Miss Manners: Friend’s aches and pains are hurting the relationship|Judith Martin, Nicholas Martin, Jacobina Martin|March 4, 2021|Washington Post
And oftentimes, we can project hypochondria onto others, Akerman said.
Is it the solution to online hypochondria, or part of the problem?
We know the only thing more hopeless than his hypochondria is his romanticism.
And then when you have kids, you find that your hypochondria can can extend not just to the limits of your own body but to them.A Q&A with Scott Stossel, Author of ‘My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind’|Jesse Singal|February 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It was fear of cancer and a douse of hypochondria that brought me to 23andMe in the first place.23andMe and Me: Why Policymakers Should Set the Genetic Testing Company Free|Charles C. Johnson|February 4, 2014|DAILY BEAST
However this may be, I suffer much for lack of someone I care for during these periods of hypochondria.The Life & Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky|Modeste Tchaikovsky
One little case of hypochondria alone ought to be a sufficient guarantee of a steady income for years, properly managed.The Genial Idiot|John Kendrick Bangs
Hypochondria has no more originary connection with the cartilage of the breastbone than with the cartilage of the ear.The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals|Edmund P. Evans
Here he nursed his hypochondria—the nightmare of his life—and sought the only true relief in hard work.Old and New London|Walter Thornbury
The malarial poison had entered his blood, causing low fever, dull headache and general hypochondria.A Dream of Empire|William Henry Venable