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Hypochondria

I have read through some old posts that I have made and have come to find out I have started quite a contraversy.  I wanted to clear up my comments for anyone still holding a grudge.  When I mentioned hypochondria as a possible reason for some symptoms I did not mean this as an insult.  Hypochondria is a REAL illness just like depression, anxiety, etc.  It seems this word still has a negative conotation as if it were a slang word such as "wacky" or "crazy".  Some of the most brilliant minds ever were clinical hypochondriacs including Mark Twain, Darwin, Einstien, to name a few.  In some cases I feel that is worth mentioning to people as ONE POSSIBLE cause for their symptoms.  Especially when appropriate tests have failed to yield organic conditions.  I once posted on a forum like this when I was 25 because I was having stomach aches.  I was scared to death at the responses telling me that I "had colon cancer and should get a colonospy immediately".  My Dr. refused this and said I was too young.  I posted this and was told "switch doctors, cancer does not discriminate".  I was petrified and dove into an obsession going from Dr. to Dr. test to test demanding they discover my colon tumor.  After 2 Sgmoids, 2 CT Scans, 3 Barium XRays, and 1 Colonoscopy I was referred to a psychiatrist faced with hypochondria.  I only wish one person would of initially said "listen to your doctor, 25 is to young to get colon cancer, if you find yourself obsessing...read up on hypochondria".  But they didn't...and what a nightmare followed.  Hope this helps explain my perspective.
11 Responses
Avatar universal
do you now what other symptoms can hypochondria or psychosomatic illness can lead to? can such symptoms be progressive and occuring daily (compared to on and off symptoms caused by say anxiety, and they are not progressive)?
Avatar universal
Definitely.  The mind is an extremely powerful tool.  On a personal note I can say that my experience my first stomach pain was very mild.  After I became obsesed, the pain got so bad I was hardly able to leave the house.  I also began noticing changes in my bowel habits including severe constipation.  Again NOTHING was wrong,once I "got a grip" all symptoms vanished in a period of one or two days!  I have since heard from others who first get headaches and then learn brain tumors cause headaches...next thing you know they are having dizzy spells, trouble seeing, memory complications...all progressions of a growing brain tumor.  Of course after a clean scan all these symptoms vanish.  Hypochondriosis is much more powerful than most people realize.  Again, always go with your gut and check into symptoms, be an advocate for further testing, and maybe even get second opinions...however make sure and check yourself along the way with questions such as "am I obsessing", "Realisticaly, have I done adequate testng to rule out my concerns", and "could these symptoms be brought on by the mind".  Good luck.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your post. It is interesting to see what our experiences do for out perspectives. I come from the complete opposite end of you. I spent years trying to find out what was wrong with me and was told many times it was just IBS and to seek psychiatric help, which I did. However, that was not my problem, and I knew it. I am grateful that I kept searching for the right answers, otherwise I would still be questioning myself. I am now much healthier. I agree with you that each person should keep evaluating themselves throughout their search. Sometimes, when you are sick, it is very difficult to seperate the emotional from the physical. Thanks for filling us in on your perspective.
Avatar universal
You make an excellent point. Hypochnodria is a serious, real and often debilitiating illness that MANY people (including doctors) ignore.

Many years ago I had a mild, common ovarian cyst and when I looked in books and online for more information, found that this was a "symptom" of ovarian cancer. My doctors also told me I was too young for this kind of cancer, but I refused to belive them. The thing I see looking back, is that I barely had any symptoms before I started reading about what was wrong with me. After a month of thinking I had cancer, I was actually in some very real physical pain. Also, due to the anxiety I was feeling, other symptoms such as cold, numb hands and shortness of breath as well as dizyness and MANY digestive problems started to legitimately occur. Eventually the pain of thinking I was one step out of the grave was so severe, I convinced a doctor to operate. Of course, the cyst was benign.

After this dramtic step I found a book called "phantom illness" which was written by a woman whose life was taken over by hypochondria. I recomend this book very highly to anyone who has even remotely considered - or had it suggested to them - that they may in fact be "imagining" their symptoms.

I don't think that hypochondria can be ignored as a possible "cause" for MANY symptoms, especially symptoms that occur after a real, physical issue has been diagnosed (gallstones, etc.) The mind has a lot more power over the body that most doctors are willing to admit.
Avatar universal
Hi All, I'm new here and just happened upon this discussion. I didn't realize that the topic area is Colon Cancer. Well, I must have hit the jackpot here.
Hypochondria is what I thought I had after being told for years that it was "All in my head". When I finally was referrd to a gastroenterenologist(sp)that week I had another attack of upper right quadrant pain that landed me in the hospital emergency room. My friend, who just happened to be working there that night, told me to go to my Dr. and tell him I wanted a scan for my Gall Bladder. I did and the next day they found that my gall bladder was full of stones, the next week I was in for an emergency removal of my gall bladder. Ok, now that, that was over, what the heck is wrong with my stomach it seems as if this hasn't taken care of the problem. Back to the specialist. He immediately brought me in for a gasteroscopy and then a colonoscopy. The results came in and I have developed scar tissue in my esophogus from the acid from years of "it's in your head" and I had the largest cancerous polyp he has seen in many years. So my persistance and the awful pain finally was taken care of. Now I go in every year for a colonoscopy to check on my colon and a gasteroscopy to check on the scar tissue. So the moral to this story is......if you have pain get all the tests done that you possibly can or it may just turn out that, in my case, an autopsy will be the only way to find out the cause. Oh yes and most importantly, always make sure that the scope they are using for your gasteroscopy isn't the one, just previously, used for a colonoscopy. HEE HEE Just kidding.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the comments on both sides.  I can appreciate both sides of the discussion for obvious reasons.  I guess my point is when I see someone who has GONE THROUGH appropriate testing with normal results and they CONTINUE to fear a serious illness...that is when Hypochondria should be a CONSIDERATION.  As was mentioned by a post above the symptoms felt by a Hypochondriac are as real as any symptom of real disease.  In another case I met a lady through my work and came to find out that her mother died of breas cancer.  She was only 24 but did breast exams RELENTLESSLY.  One time she became obsessed with a lump she found.  It was the size of a grain of rice.  The Dr. told her it was fibrous tissue.  She continued to feel it and one month later went to the doctor telling him "It was huge".  He felt it and it was size of grain of rice.  One month later and she went back saying "it was even bigger and had certainly spead to her lungs as she could not breath and had severe coughing episodes".  Dr. felt it and it had not changed at all...however to appease her he did a biopsy.  Awaiting the results she laid in bed, had lost 15 pounds since discovering the lump, could not eat solid food, could not find energy to clean the house and was now coughing blood!  Results came back...fibrous tissue.  That is how severe it can get.  Like I said DEIFINITELY CHECK THINGS OUT...but never underestimate the power of the mind.  Good posts above..thank you.
Avatar universal
I posted this and was told "switch doctors, cancer does not discriminate". I was petrified and dove into an obsession going from Dr. to Dr. test to test demanding they discover my colon tumor. After 2 Sgmoids, 2 CT Scans, 3 Barium XRays, and 1 Colonoscopy I was referred to a psychiatrist faced with hypochondria. I only wish one person would of initially said "listen to your doctor, 25 is to young to get colon cancer, if you find yourself obsessing...read up on hypochondria". But they didn't...and what a nightmare followed. Hope this helps explain my perspective.

Well, Doug that was very articulant and all
Avatar universal
i feel i have a similar trane of thought here as in the last 2 years iv faced redundency at work and when the pressure is on the knawing is back with my gastritis,,,,as iv said before my doc recons im just a worryer..im now thinking shes fairly accurate.....when some one says "dont worry"its easyer said than done..btw deea im on the liquorice in stick form.ill keep the group posted.
regards to all ...  ***@****
Avatar universal
DeeA what does artculant mean?
Avatar universal
sorry, I meant articulate.


ar*tic*u*late [2] (verb) -lat*ed; -lat*ing

verb transitive

First appeared 1594

1 a : to utter distinctly <articulating each note in the musical phrase>

   b : to give clear and effective utterance to : put into words <~ one's  grievances>

   c : to give definition to (as a shape or object) <shades of gray were chosen  to ~ different spaces --Carol Vogel>

2 a : to unite by means of a joint : JOINT

   b : to form or fit into a systematic whole <articulating a program for all  school grades>

verb intransitive

1 : to utter articulate sounds

2 : to become united or connected by or as if by a joint

-- ar*tic*u*la*tive (adjective)

-- ar*tic*u*la*tor (noun)

Avatar universal
oh, i that case thank you.

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