Hypochondria: Woeful Imaginatings
Continuing on with the hypochondria thread of January 13 2008 "In Every New and Smart Disease, From Housemaid's Knee to Heart Disease, She Recognized the Symptoms as Her Own!" I found a great source book regarding this not fully understood condition to which the public can have free access to read. The book,
"Hypochondria: woeful imaginatings" by Susan Baur and published in 1989 by University of California Press, covers the following chapter topics:
1— Being a Hypochondriac
2— "A Disease So Grievous, So Common"
3— The Social Significance of Being Ill
4— Pathways toward Childhood Hypochondria
5— Hypochondria in the Family
6— Hypochondriacs and Their Doctors
7— Hypochondria among the Elderly
8— Hypochondria and Our Cultural Values
9— Hypochondria in Other Cultures
10— Occupational Hypochondria
11— Getting Better
From my view point as a physician, the chapter of "Hypochondriacs and Their Doctors" is most fascinating to me. Neither party, physician nor patient, may take an objective and understanding view of the other. For the physician, issues with the relationship deal with available time, deminished financial rewards and the uncertainties of discovering whether a real and directly treatable illness exists within the patient considered hypochondriacal.
For the patient,as excerpted from the chapter, "they want the reassurance that a physical problem lies at the root of their troubles. In other words, they want the doctor to find something physically wrong with them. As far as a hypochondriac is concerned, a good doctor comes up with something more than negative findings and actually helps the hypochondriac to organize his or her complaints along physical rather than psychological lines. The doctor who finds a suspicion of hypoglycemia or gall bladder trouble is an ally and the finding a source of profound relief—for a while." However, it is unrealistic to necessarily expect a physician to find a suspicious result.
Continuing with the excerpt "Like many patients, hypochondriacs also want a smart, kind, and effective doctor who devotes his full time to caring for the sick, who treats all patients equally whether he happens to like them or not, and who places each patient's welfare above his own immediate desires."
By the way, the University of California Press at their Scholarship Editions website provides a number of thoughtful books available for free access to read and can be accessed at this link. ..Maurice.