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hypochondria

[ hahy-puh-kon-dree-uh ]
/ 藢ha瑟 p蓹藞k蓲n dri 蓹 /
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noun
Also hy路po路chon路dri路a路sis [hahy-poh-kuhn-drahy-uh-sis]. /藢ha瑟 po蕣 k蓹n藞dra瑟 蓹 s瑟s/. Psychiatry. an excessive preoccupation with one's health, usually focusing on some particular symptom, as cardiac or gastric problems.
excessive worry or talk about one's health.
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Origin of hypochondria

1555鈥65; <Late Latin <Greek, neuter plural of hypoch贸ndrios pertaining to the upper abdomen (supposed seat of melancholy), equivalent to hypo-hypo- + ch贸ndr(os) ensiform cartilage + -ios adj. suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2022

ABOUT THIS WORD

What does聽hypochondria mean?

Hypochondria was once commonly used as the name of the condition involving constantly and excessively worrying about one鈥檚 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鈥攕uch as heart or stomach pains鈥攁nd may even be accompanied by physical symptoms.

It鈥檚 normal to wonder if you鈥檙e 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鈥檚 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鈥攊t didn鈥檛 do anything to help their underlying anxiety.

Where does聽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 鈥渦nder the cartilage (of the upper abdomen).鈥

Early senses of the words hypochondria and hypochondriac were used in reference to the medieval notion that people鈥檚 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鈥檛 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?聽

What are some words that often get used in discussing hypochondria?

How to use hypochondria in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hypochondria

hypochondria
/ (藢ha瑟p蓹藞k蓲ndr瑟蓹) /

noun
chronic abnormal anxiety concerning the state of one's health, even in the absence of any evidence of disease on medical examinationAlso called: hypochondriasis (藢ha瑟p蓹蕣k蓲n藞dra瑟蓹s瑟s)

Word Origin for hypochondria

C18: from Late Latin: the abdomen, supposedly the seat of melancholy, from Greek hupokhondria, from hupokhondrios of the upper abdomen, from hypo- + khondros cartilage
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for hypochondria

hypochondria
[ h墨鈥瞤蓹-k艔ndr膿-蓹 ]

A psychiatric disorder characterized by the conviction that one is ill or soon to become ill, often accompanied by physical symptoms, when illness is neither present nor likely.鈾 A person with hypochondria is called a hypochondriac.
The American Heritage庐 Science Dictionary Copyright 漏 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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