Hypochondriasis is a disease which is easily hidden from view. It is a somatoform disorder in which the patient pays intense attention to their body, often misinterpreting conditions as a disorder. It is difficult to know the prevalence and incidence of this disease because when a subject has it, they are unaware of it, believing that they simply have a medical disorder. This is outlined well by Dr. Russell Noyes in an article in Health & Medicine Week:
Doctors don't do a very good job of recognizing hypochondriasis and they rarely diagnosis it, but it is a real psychiatric disorder and source of distress...One of the reasons they fail to recognize hypochondriasis is that it comes in a disguised form - the patient presents physical symptoms and the doctor examines and finds no physical explanation, then dismisses the patient.
The symptoms of this disorder are a strong fixation on their bodies, often misinterpreting these to suggest a medical disorder of some kind.
The etiology of hypochondriasis is reactive, as the patient reacts to events usually in their childhood which caused to form a self-concept as a sick person. In a personal interview with Tina Bryant, a women going through the process of recovery from this diagnosis, I was told the following about the formation about this disease:
In my house people didn't do much around the house. I was the oldest of six and sort of "mothered" my little brothers, and the only time I ever got to skip out on chores was when I was sick. Then my mom took over and...I guess I just wanted to be sick all the time, so I was.
Another theory about the etiology of this diagnosis was presented on AllPsych Online:
There are many who suggest that unconscious aggressive impulses are...