The Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) said Tuesday that the total number of patients suffering from hypochondriac delusion hit 3,817 in 2016.
Hypochondriasis is a condition in which a person is inordinately worried about having a serious illness.
Those in their 60s suffered more from the condition than any other age groups. Over the cited period, those in their 60s accounted for 21 percent of the total patients, while those in their 50s accounted for 19 percent. Patients in their 40s and 70s also counted for 18 and 13.7 percent, respectively.
The report showed the condition also affected young adults as patients in their 20s and 30s accounted for 11 and 9 percent, respectively, of the total patients.
According to HIRA, most patients with hypochondriasis are more susceptible to physical discomfort.
Examples of such cases include suspecting of having pneumonia even when catching a cold, and misunderstanding cartilage to be a tumor. Even if it is a passing symptom, patients with hypochondria report pain along with the signs.
Such patients tend to go to various hospitals even after a doctor diagnoses their symptoms as “no abnormality." There is a high possibility that the patient is suffering from hypochondria if the symptoms continue for more than six months.
“Patients who suspect they are suffering from hypochondria are eligible for hospital care,” a HIRA official said. “When physical anomalies are not found, medication can be taken according to doctor's diagnosis.”
Individual or group counseling can improve hypochondriasis, the official said. As anxiety causes more than half of the symptoms, positive thinking is essential, he added.
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