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J Anxiety Disord. 2010 Dec;24(8):931-5. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.06.019. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for hypochondriasis, or severe health anxiety: a pilot study.

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Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


In spite of the existence of evidence-based treatments for hypochondriasis, or severe health anxiety, recovery rates are low and morbidity is high. Therefore, more treatment options are needed for this prevalent condition. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) interventions have been gaining research and clinical attention for the treatment of mood, and more recently anxiety disorders. A small, uncontrolled pilot study of an 8-week group MBCT intervention for hypochondriasis was conducted. Ten subjects (five females and five males) with a mean age of 35.6 (range=25-59) recruited from an academic community health network met criteria and completed the study. There were significant improvements in measures of health anxiety, disease-related thoughts, somatic symptoms, and mindfulness at the end of treatment, and these benefits were sustained at 3-month follow-up. Participants evidenced high treatment satisfaction, with no drop-outs or adverse events. These findings provide the basis for a larger, more rigorous, controlled trial of this promising treatment approach.

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