• Good advice for aches, pains & injuries


You’re not paranoid if they’re really after you

Paul Ingraham ARCHIVEDMicroblog posts are archived and rarely updated. In contrast, most long-form articles on are updated regularly over the years (see updates page).

Hypochondria is medical anxiety, a phobia of pathology. While fear and hypervigilance may erode quality of life, the pure hypochondriac is not suffering from a medical problem — not yet anyway. It’s a mental illness.

Of course, you’re not paranoid if they’re really after you, and we can learn fear of disease from actual disease. Or, if you were hypochondriac to begin with, the disease is like gasoline on that fire.

Importantly, most people with fibromyalgia — undiagnosed chronic widespread pain — have no obvious fear of pathology. They are not hypochondriacs, by definition. They are probably appropriately anxious about their health problems, of course, but that’s not hypochondria. Repeat after me:

That’s an excerpt from my article about fibromyalgia, which got a bunch of extra attention this week. It works quite well as a standalone point, and it’s an important one.

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