(Also Known As: Hypocondriasis Causes, Hypochondriac Causes, Hypocondriac Causes, Somatoform Causes, Obsessive Compulsive Causes, Malingering Causes, Hypochondriasis Dsm Causes)
(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)
What Causes Hypochondriasis?
Amplification of Sensory Experience
According to one theory, hypochondriacs have a high sensitivity level when it comes to physical sensations. As they become highly sensitive to their heart rate, slight noises in the digestive system, and the amount or taste of saliva in their mouth, the feeling becomes magnified because of these slight variations in their body.
Because of their high attention to these bodily feelings, their intensity level is strengthened. The amplified feelings can either be short-term or chronic. Likewise, it can be triggered by situational factors that are the reason why hypochondriacal worries are intensified by stress or by situations that justify the fears about illness. An increased sensitivity to inner feelings is likewise a characteristic of panic disorder, which led researchers to suggest that there is an overlapping between the two disorders.
Distorted Interpretation of Symptoms
There is another theory that focuses on dysfunctional thinking as a cause of hypochondriasis. According to the framers of this theory, the inner physical feelings of hypochondriacs are not necessarily stronger than majority of the people, but rather is the result of their exaggerated misinterpretation of their physical symptoms. They do not think favorably of the state of their physical condition and overestimate their chances of becoming sick. Unlike most people that assume that nothing is wrong with their health unless their doctor tells them that they are sick, a hypochondriac assumes that they are sick unless their doctor contradicts them. Ironically, people with hypochondriasis make more realistic estimates of their risk than most of the population.
Could You Have Hypochondriasis?