When you have hypochondria, you become obsessed with the idea that you have a serious or life-threatening disease that hasn't been diagnosed yet. This causes significant anxiety that goes on for months or longer, even though there's no clear medical evidence that you have a serious health problem. Hypochondria is also called hypochondriasis.

While having some anxiety about your health is normal, full-blown hypochondria is so consuming that it causes problems with work, relationships or other areas of your life. Severe hypochondria can be completely disabling.

Although hypochondria is a long-term condition, you don't have to live your life constantly worrying about your health. Treatment such as psychological counseling, medications or simply learning about hypochondria may help ease your worries.

Nov. 23, 2010