Definition of Hypochondriac

Hypochondriac: A person who has hypochondriasis, 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.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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