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J Anxiety Disord. 2013 Jun;27(5):461-8. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.06.001. Epub 2013 Jun 19.

Acceptance and commitment group therapy for health anxiety--results from a pilot study.

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The Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics, Aarhus University Hospital, Barthsgade 5.1, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark.


Health anxiety (or hypochondriasis) is prevalent, may be persistent and disabling for the sufferers and associated with high societal costs. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a new third-wave behavioral cognitive therapy that has not yet been tested in health anxiety. 34 consecutive Danish patients with severe health anxiety were referred from general practitioners or hospital departments and received a ten-session ACT group therapy. Patients were followed up by questionnaires for 6 months. There were significant reductions in health anxiety, somatic symptoms and emotional distress at 6 months compared to baseline: a 49% reduction in health anxiety (Whiteley-7 Index), a 47% decrease in emotional distress (SCL-8), and a 40% decrease in somatic symptoms (SCL-90R Somatization Subscale). The patients' emotional representations and perception of the consequences of their illness (IPQ) improved significantly, and 87% of the patients were very or extremely satisfied with the treatment.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; Health anxiety; Hypochondriasis; Illness perception; Somatization

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