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A Condition of Doubt – The Meanings of Hypochondria - Oxford Scholarship Online
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A Condition of Doubt: The Meanings of Hypochondria

Catherine Belling


Medicine relies on objective evidence to verify the absence or presence of disease, but the hypochondriac is unable to accept reassurance when no such evidence is found. By exploring the tension between these two positions, this book offers a reevaluation of medical and popular accounts of hypochondria, claiming that contemporary hypochondria should be understood less as a mental illness in particular patients than as a rational if maladaptive condition emerging from gaps between what patients expect of medicine and what doctors can achieve. We might say that, over the last half-century, patie ... More

Keywords: hypochondria, hypochondriasis, anxiety, medicine, medical epistemology, medical education, the body, narrative, uncertainty, evidence, public health, horror, life-writing, postmodernism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199892365
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199892365.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Catherine Belling, author
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University