Illness Anxiety Disorder (IAD)

Illness Anxiety Disorder (IAD) is an anxiety disorder where a person is overly preoccupied with having or getting a medical illness or disease, despite having few or no symptoms. Illness Anxiety Disorder is a fairly recent term, previously referred to as hypochondriasis or hypochondria. Despite having no or only mild symptoms, the concerns of the person are very real. When patients visit their doctor and are told that no illness can be found, the patient is generally not reassured and their obsessive worry continues or gets worse. IAD often triggers worry that they are sicker than they really are. This disorder is not about illness or the absence of illness, but rather the psychological reaction of the person.

Mistrust of Doctors

People with IAD repetitively check for signs of the illness and may even avoid doctor visits believing that the doctor is completely wrong. In some cases the actual perceived illness changes over time. Illness Anxiety Disorder may occur once, multiple times, or continually.

Unknown Cause

The actual cause for Illness Anxiety Disorder in unknown but other mental disorders, such as stress, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), psychotic disorders, a history of other serious illnesses, and even childhood abuse memories may be the underlying cause. 

As many as 5 percent of the U.S. population experience Illness Anxiety Disorder. It is experienced about equally in both men and women.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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