Psychologist Questions Mental Health

Is constantly worrying about getting a sick a disease in itself?

My mother in law constantly considers herself sick. Every morning, she believes she has some physical problem, when there's really nothing wrong with her at all. Is this considered a psychological disorder in itself?

10 Answers

Constantly worrying about getting sick is not a disease, but a mental disorder. It's either due to severe anxiety or hypochondriasis, which is a condition in which a person is excessively worried about having a serious illness.
It can be but a full work up is necessary to diagnose a psychological disorder.
This is a common problem with an underlying issue. 1st, I would recommend she have a complete physical. If all is well, she should seek a therapist to determine the underlying problem.
Not necessarily. There may be an underlying condition that has not been identified and diagnosed correctly. Through further exploration, need to also explore what stressors etc are contributing to her condition, but not addressing because of an inability to be in touch with the underlying feelings and expression of the concerns.
Yes there are several disorders that are related to obsessive rumination regarding one's health.
It could be considered part of an anxiety disorder possibly. It completely depends on the person and details. I would suggest that you encourage her to go to counseling.

Dr. G
Yes, it used to be called hypochondria. It is sometimes called Illness Anxiety Disorder. You will find a helpful description and discussion on the Mayo Clinic website. This disorder is treatable, IF the person wants to be treated!


Marian K. Shapiro
Not so much. Attention getters can use this. Maybe she feels lost and unloved. I really don’t know the situation but it could be a disorder. Maybe she just needs a pep talk with a life coach or therapist
Typically this kind of thinking falls into the Illness Anxiety Disorder ICD 10 code F45.21
It's really hard to say with such limited information. My recommendation would be to encourage your mother-in-law to see a medical doctor to rule out any actual physical conditions. Once that happens and everything checks out okay, they are able to make a determination whether the concerns are driven by psychological distress and refer to a mental health specialist, if needed.