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Hypochondriasis: Clinical Profile in a Tertiary Care Psychiatry and Neurosciences Hospital in Southern India - A Retrospective Chart Review

N Pavithra, Ajit Bhalchandra Dahale, Geetha Desai, Santosh Kumar Chaturvedi
Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine 2019, 41 (2): 178-181

Background: Hypochondriasis is a complex disorder in the realm of psychosomatic medicine, yet understudied in India. The aim of this study was to assess the clinical profile of patients diagnosed with hypochondriasis.

Materials and Methods: Retrospective chart review was done in a tertiary care psychiatry and neurosciences hospital in southern India. Medical records of adults diagnosed with hypochondriasis between 2000 and 2010 were analyzed. These patients were also rediagnosed retrospectively using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) criteria for illness anxiety disorder (IAD) and Diagnostic Criteria for Psychosomatic Research (DCPR) criteria for health anxiety and illness phobia. Data were organized and analyzed using PSPP for descriptive statistics of different variables.

Results: There were 114 patients with hypochondriasis, with the most common belief being about dysmorphic appearance. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were the most commonly prescribed medications. The median follow-up duration was only 2 months. Five percent of the cases fulfilled the criteria for DCPR health anxiety and 20.4% for DCPR illness phobia. DSM-5 criteria for IAD were fulfilled by 45.6% of the cases.

Conclusion: Dysmorphic appearance was the most common concern in patients with hypochondriasis and SSRIs the most common medications. The follow-up rate and the diagnostic concurrence with DSM-5 IAD and DCPR were low. Studies assessing the influence of psychopathology and culture on the presentation, course, and prognosis of hypochondriasis would be beneficial.


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