Illness Anxiety Disorder (IAD), also known as hypochondriasis, is a mental disorder that is characterized by excessive and unreasonable fear of having a serious illness. People suffering from IAD are preoccupied with their health and often times experience symptoms or sensations in the body which are not associated with an actual medical condition. Those affected by IAD tend to misinterpret these physical sensations as signs of an underlying illness, while they do not respond to reassurance or medical treatment (García-Leal, 2018). The etiology of Illness Anxiety Disorder is complex and multidimensional; however, cognitive-behavioral theorists have proposed several potential causes including early childhood experiences, learned behavior patterns, family dynamics and genetic predispositions (Southwick & Vythilingam, 2005).
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