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Current Directions in the Treatment of Hypochondriasis

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Hypochondriasis was once considered treatment resistant. Recent studies, however, suggest that several interventions can be effective. This article presents a narrative review of psychosocial and pharmacologic treatments for hypochondriasis, supplemented by a meta-analysis of treatments to identify the most promising interventions. Findings suggest that cognitive behavior therapy is the most effective treatment for hypochondriasis. Fluoxetine also is promising, although the long-term effects of this and other medications remain to be examined. Psychoeducation appears to be sufficient for mild hypochondriasis. Future research on the mechanisms of hypochondriasis may shed light on how we can improve treatments, particularly for severe cases, which are least likely to benefit from psychosocial and drug interventions.

Keywords: COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOR THERAPY; HEALTH ANXIETY; HYPOCHONDRIASIS; META-ANALYSIS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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