The only scientifically correct, objective, and unbiased definition of hypochondria – An illness of undetectable or unknown cause.
People who argue that hypochondria refers to a health anxiety or disease phobia are either ignorant or are liars, because that is simply not the meaning of the word. The undetectable nature of the problem is the only problem, and it is natural for people to try and find their own cures if doctors can’t. Whether or not they worry about their illness is an entirely different issue where labels such as “disease phobia” are sufficient for that purpose without messing about and corrupting the label of hypochondria and defaming the character of people who are dealing with an ailment which is unsatisfactorily understood and treated.
Why I object to the modern definitions and use of that word.
The motive behind the “all in the mind concept”
The Wikipedia page called Hypochondriasis has been written by a collection of liars and fools who are giving utterly worthless opinions which have no scientific basis, discipline, or standards. here.
They write in a manner that you would expect from the highly paid anonymous agents of large insurance companies or organisations whose ruthless objective is to make the maximum amount of profit by minimising their costs.
One way of minimising costs would be to send their sick or injured clients or workers to doctors who say “there is nothing on an x-ray” to support their claim, and then to refer them to a psychiatrist who would argue that the problem was therefore not physical, and then use or invent anyone of many devious arguments to say that the pain or injury did not actually exist, so the person was not entitled to compensation etc.
That scam has been used for more than 100 years, and in Wikipedia, it goes beyond just unethical and unscientific nonsense to being on the scale of a crime against humanity.
There are of course, many other motives for arguing that the pain does not exist. For example it conveniently removes the difficult situation where doctors have responsibility for diseases which they don’t understand and can’t cure.
A biased version of the argument would be that the doctor is wise and knows everything, so if he can’t find the cause the patient must be stupid. The more accurate and balanced version would be that the doctor is only human, and doesn’t know, and can’t detect everything, and the patient is sensible.
Of course it may also be used properly to ease any anxieties that the patient may have about their health, but that argument is often just a front to divert attention away from it’s inappropriate and unethical use.
When the word hypochondria was first defined it referred to a disease of the upper abdomen, but in recent times, because the cause has never been found it has come to be used to describe concern over supposedly imaginary illnesses.
In general conversation it is most commonly used as an insult where a person will say ‘look at that silly bastard, always whinging about his illnesses – his doctor says that there is nothing wrong with him. He is just a stupid hypochondriac”.
In fact, some doctors have exactly the same attitude, especially in heated arguments against patients. However, the modern definition describes those people as anxious, worried, and depressed patients who fear that every minor pain or symptom is evidence of major illness, and that all they need is reassurance and psychotherapy to help them return to leading happy lives again. See here.
However, in many cases there would be a real physical basis for the symptoms, where psychotherapy would be completely and utterly useless as a treatment, because it can’t, and doesn’t cure the pain or disease, and the diagnosis does a lot more harm to the patient than good. As they day, it is not part of the solution, it is part of the problem.
I would therefore give a more realistic view on what actually happens in the real world.
When I was 25 years old I had a very secure government job, where my employment was permanent, and guaranteed for life, and my wages were much higher than that of most of my friends.
However, I also had many health problems and, according to my doctor, none of them were evident on blood tests or x-rays, and none of them were responding to any form of treatment and were getting worse.
For example, I was required to determine a persons wage entitlements, and would therefore need to do basic arithmetic to calculate how much extra they would get for working two and a half hours overtime on a Sunday, at double time rates. Consequently, if their normal pay was $10 per hour, they would be entitled to an additional $25.
I could easily do those calculations in my head while sitting upright but when I leaned toward to desk to record the total on the salary sheet, I would get an ache in my upper belly. Also, by the end of a day that pain would be much worse, and of course, by Friday the pain would be much worse than it was the previous Monday. I would then get some relief from that pain on the weekend, but it would start all over again soon after I started work the following Monday morning.
Eventually, as the years went by, I was getting additional other symptoms each time I leaned forward, and then I started feeling faint. I also noticed that I was having difficulty walking too and from work because as I lifted my left foot of the ground to take a step, my heart would pound, and then I would lift my right foot to take the next step and it would pound again.
I didn’t want to resign from work, so I waited until my four weeks was annual leave was due, to determine if the symptoms would go aways during that period, but although they didn’t get any worse, there was not much improvement in my general health, so it was impractical to return to work and deal with all of that pain again.
I only had to wait a few more months and I would have been entitled to three months long service leave, where I could determine the effects of a longer break, but my health was so bad I couldn’t wait that long, so I applied for twelve months leave without pay.
During that time I started reading medical books to determine the cause of those problems for myself, but leaning forward to read was aggravating the abdominal pain, so I could only read for very short periods of time, and it took me many months to learn that I had the symptoms of Da Costa’s syndrome.
Also, within a few months I joined an exercise class at the South Australian Institute for Fitness Research and Training where my aerobic capacity was scientifically measured at less than 100 Kp’s compared to that of a healthy person of 700 or more. I later learned that the calculations were produced by graphs of multiple loads of pressure on an exercise bike so that they could not be faked by patients. In other words, my fitness level was far below normal according to reliable scientific assessment.
I also found that my fitness levels increased to 350 in three months of regular training, but then stayed at that low level despite me increasing my exercise sessions from 3 to six times or more per week, which was an obvious indication that I had a chronic limitations to my capacity for exercise which I would probably have to learn to live with for the rest of my life.
After twelve months my health was still poor. and it was time to return to work, but I knew that it was not practical, so I applied for more leave but it was refused, and I was required to report to management to discuss why.
I was then told, that, as there was no medical evidence of illness, I couldn’t get any more leave, so I had to consider resigning.
However, I had been making regular payments into a superannuation fund for almost ten years, so that If I ever had to leave work because of illness I would be entitled to an income related to my length of service, and at that age it was 40$ of my annual salary each year.
I was then advised to consult a Union representative who told me that he had met many people with my type of illness who resigned without benefits and later regretted it because they never properly recovered and spent the remainder of their lives in poverty.
However, I explained to him that my health was still extremely poor, and that I didn’t want to put myself in front of a tribunal of three men twice my age, in suits and ties, cross-examining and harassing me by asking me to justify making a claim without the support of medical evidence of disease.
He strongly urged me to make a claim, but I was simply too ill at the time to go through that process, and concluded that the best thing to do was resign, and hope that my health improved so that I could either return to my job, or get different employment later.
At a final meeting with management I applied for an extension of my leave without pay, but was told that I would have to return to work or be sacked, without any entitlements to superannuation.
It was essentially a form of intimidation and blackmail where I was in a no win situation where I didn’t want to return to work where I would be in repeated periods of pain, and I didn’t want to be sacked, so the next day I wrote a letter of resignation.
It took me about ten years to recover to the extent that I thought that my health barely resembled normal, and although it has improved to a manageable, and reasonable level since then, I still have significant limitations to my capacity, and despite making many attempts at earning a living, my health generally deteriorates over a period of months making continuation impractical.
During that time I have studied those ailments and determined scientifically proven physical causes of most of the symptoms, and developed my own methods of treatment. I have also published reports on my experience and ideas to warn other people of what to expect in advance, and to help to understand and treat their health problems.
That was just a brief introduction to my experience for the past 38 years, and as you can see, my doctor was unable to find any evidence of disease, and so, the modern definitions of hypochondria are not only wrong, but are also defamation of my character because . .
I am not anxious or depressed, and i have since found scientific evidence and proof that the symptoms have a physical basis and are therefore real and not imaginary, and that there is scientific proof that they are measurable and not trivial, and I don’t fear or worry about any type of disease, and that my study of medicine was entirely necessary and was not an obsessive interest in my health, because without the knowledge and methods of treatment which I developed for myself, I would still be as ill as I was in the beginning.
The ideas that all illnesses which are undetectable must be trivial or imaginary or all in the mind is utterly ridiculous, and needs to be brought to an end, otherwise patients with real undetectable physical conditions will continue to be told that they are just mentally disturbed patients who are complaining about nothing.
The label of hypochondria should be unambiguously defined as “An illness of undetectable and unknown cause”.
Anxiety, depression, or mental disorder are completely different issues which may or may not be associated with any particular undetectable illness.
It should also be made clear that if the persons illness does not respond to medical treatment that their study of their own illness is a necessity, not an obsession, and that doctors who fail to cure a patients disease do not have the right to stop them from trying to cure it themselves.