- A disorder characterized by a preoccupation with body functions and the interpretation of normal body sensations (such as sweating) or minor abnormalities (such as minor aches and pains) as portending problems of major medical moment. Reassurance by physicians and others only serves to increase the hypochondriac's persistent anxiety about their health. The hypochondrium is the anatomic area of the upper abdomen just below (Greek "hypo" meaning "below") the cartilage (Greek "chondros" meaning "cartilage") of the ribs. Hypochondriasis was thought by the ancients to be due to disturbed function of the spleen and other organs in the upper abdomen.
* * *A morbid concern about one's own health and exaggerated attention to any unusual bodily or mental sensations; a delusion that one is suffering from some disease for which no physical basis is evident. SYN: hypochondria, hypochondriacal neurosis. [fr. hypochondrium, regarded as the site of hypochondria, + G. -iasis, condition]
* * *hy·po·chon·dri·a·sis -'drī-ə-səs n, pl -a·ses -.sēz morbid concern about one's health esp. when accompanied by delusions of physical disease
* * *hy·po·chon·dri·a·sis (hi″po-kon-driґə-sis) [so called because it was supposed by the ancients to be due to disturbed function of the organs of the upper abdomen; see also regio hypochondriaca] [DSM-IV] a somatoform disorder characterized by a preoccupation with bodily functions and the interpretation of normal sensations (such as heart beats, sweating, peristaltic action, and bowel movements) or minor abnormalities (such as a runny nose, minor aches and pains, or slightly swollen lymph nodes) as indications of serious problems needing medical attention. Negative results of diagnostic evaluations and reassurance by physicians only increase the patient's anxious concern about his health, although the concern is not of delusional intensity. Called also hypochondriacal neurosis.
Medical dictionary. 2011.