'And what if you were wrong, Doctor?' A narrative illustration of the hypochondriacal vicious cycle


  • Jose Maria Ariso Universidad Internacional de La Rioja


Hypochondriasis, Illness anxiety disorder, Narrative medicine, Stomach neoplasms


A 59-year old man suffers from illness anxiety disorder. The patient, caught in a hypochondriacal vicious cycle, is convinced of having stomach cancer although medical practitioners have discarded such a diagnosis. He requires them to prove him wrong; however, he distrusts the rigor with which medical examinations of his stomach are carried out, and so the cycle continues. Narratives are known to help one make sense of one's own, and also of other people's actions and intentions. The author shares a narrative that represents a patient's speech which was translated from Spanish into English by the author. By de-constructing the patient's narrative, the author aims to demonstrate how a narrative approach can help doctors to empathize with hypochondriacal patients, earn their trust, and break the vicious cycle of repeated hospital visits and doctor shopping.


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How to Cite

Ariso, J. M. (2018). ’And what if you were wrong, Doctor?’ A narrative illustration of the hypochondriacal vicious cycle. Research and Humanities in Medical Education, 5, 16–21. Retrieved from https://www.rhime.in/ojs/index.php/rhime/article/view/163



Original Article