Health anxiety, also known as hypochondriasis, is classifiable as an anxiety disorder. We present a case report on the effects of a brief cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) on health anxiety in order to demonstrate the successful implementation of techniques proposed by cognitive-behavioral models of health anxiety. The client was a Japanese male suffering from slight paralysis in his limbs and the left recurrent nerve. The case formulation suggested that he was misinterpreting his health condition, which made him more anxious and fostered a range of safety-seeking behaviors, including reassurance seeking. The intervention involved attention training and preventing reassurance seeking and the provision thereof. In addition, “mastery and pleasure ratings” were used to improve the patient’s mood and increase his engagement in activities other than preoccupation with his health condition. These techniques enabled the client to stop his reassurance seeking behavior and rumination about his symptoms. The present study demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT in reducing health anxiety relating to actual medical conditions.
Source: J Psychother Psychol Disor 2:1