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Hypochondriasis case study

Case study: hypochondriasis

Terry is a 37-year-old married bank manager. He had developed a range of symptoms which caused him to fear that he had a brain tumour as he was having ‘migraine attacks’, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea and panic. Over time and following a range of investigations (CT scan, pathology tests, EEG) his beliefs changed and he worried about having a stroke. His strength of belief that he had a brain tumour was 60 per cent and that he would have a stroke in the next year was 90 per cent. His fears about tumour and stroke were triggered by headache, blurred vision, dizziness, being out of breath following exertion, and reading or hearing about illness on the television or in newspapers. He had a comprehensive knowledge and had purchased approximately £500 worth of medical texts as well as surfing the internet daily for medical information. Despite repeated reassurance, he was worried that ‘something had been missed’. He visited his GP on a weekly basis, with each consultation taking on average 20 minutes before he was suitably reassured. He had a premorbid history of being anxious and had a family history of cancer and stroke.

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