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Hypochondriacs Step-by-Step Guide to Illness



This article is a light-hearted look at the loosely used term Hypochondria. It is not intended to belittle anyone but simply (hopefully) bring a smile to an otherwise troubled face.

  • Hypochondria
    Hypochondria is a belief that physical symptoms are signs of a serious illness, even when there is no medical evidence to support the presence of an illness.

Are you a hypochondriac?

Maybe you have one in the family.

You know the type, health indicators scrupulously self monitored for potential deviation. Each twinge, ache and pain categorised by intensity, duration and location; such that a spontaneous burp is duly registered and filed under early-stage stomach cancer. I know, I have a fledgling one in my family. Below is a transcript of a conversation we had when she was seven years old.

Them - "Dad, what would happen if you drank petrol?"
Me - "You'd die I suppose, or get very sick. It would all depend on how much you drank."
Them - "Would it hurt?"
Me - "Yes, I could imagine it would, a lot. It would burn."
(10 minutes later)
Them (in tears) - "Dad, I'm scared I drank some petrol."
Me (alarmed) - "What, where, how much?"
Them - "I don't know."
Me - "You don't know what? you don't know how much?"
Them - "No. I don't know if I drank it."
Me (confused) - "Huh? You don't know if what you drank was petrol?"
Them (frustrated) - "No, I don't know if I drank any."
Me (beyond confused) - "So, you think you might of, but you're not sure? Where did you think you might of drank it?"
Them - "I don't know. I'm worried I might have at some time, but don't know when."
Me - "Oookay." (just realised with whom I'm talking)

Connect the Spots

You see, unbeknownst to me, our previous conversation about the result of drinking petrol had actually been a search for why her throat was sore (why the petrol tangent I'm unsure). Of course, it was enough for me to suggest painful burning as a symptom of petroleum consumption for the hypochrondra-dots to join, and, voilà, a cause is born.

And that got me thinking, hypochondriacs must really chew through a lot of time and energy analysing, diagnosing and formulating conclusions regarding their every bodily sensation. Therefore, I have put together this hub to streamline the process for them - or you, since you're the one reading this I assume there's something burning, itching, hurting, bulging, spreading, oozing... or maybe even just imagined.

Regardless, this hub is for you

So let's get to it.

Complete the quick poll below to gauge your level of hypochondriatic mastery.

How Hypo Are You?

For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. Do you know where all the moles and large freckles are on your body?
    • No
    • Some of them
    • Most of them
    • All of them
    • I count and measure them weekly
    • I'm too scared to look, I just know they're malignant
  2. You feel a strange tingling sensation in your fingers, your response is;
    • Ignore it until it hurts
    • Mild concern, but no action taken
    • Call Mum about it
    • Make an appointment to see the Quack
    • Research online to determine which are the ten most likely causes
    • Have a panic attack and wait to die
    • Call the ambulance and have yourself hospitilised
  3. Your doctor has given you a good bill of health, do you
    • Thank them and leave satisfied
    • Feel that a second opinion is warranted
    • Argue with them
    • No problem, you've already made appointments for three other doctors that morning. One of them will get it right.
  4. How often do you suffer from migraines or headaches?
    • Never
    • Rarely
    • A few times per year
    • Fairly frequently
    • Often
    • Why do you ask, do I look sick?
  5. How do you deal with your hypochondria?
    • I'm not a hypochondriac (In Denial)
    • Read Hubpage articles about hypochondria
    • Get busy doing something distractive
    • Long conversations with my health professional
    • I Google like a mad person
    • I wait for the next symptom that proves I'm dieing
  6. Select the list best reflecting the most serious illness you think you have experienced, but haven't been diagnosed with
    • Dandruff
    • Cold, Flu, Bronchitis
    • Diarrhea, Pneumonia, Asthma,
    • Diabetes millitus, Gout, Heartburn
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Gallstones, Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Fibromyalgia, Polymyalgia, Multiple-Sclerosis, Eating Disorders,
    • Depression, Crohn's Disease, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Allergies
    • Alzheimer's Disease, Brain Tumours, Glomerulonephritis, HIV/AIDS
    • Progeria, micropsia, Blaschko's lines, lipodystrophy, chiari malformation, cataplexy


Use the scoring guide below to add up your total points based on your answers.

  1. Do you know where all the moles and large freckles are on your body?
    • No: +0 points
    • Some of them: +1 point
    • Most of them: +2 points
    • All of them: +3 points
    • I count and measure them weekly: +4 points
    • I'm too scared to look, I just know they're malignant: +5 points
  2. You feel a strange tingling sensation in your fingers, your response is;
    • Ignore it until it hurts: -1 point
    • Mild concern, but no action taken: +0 points
    • Call Mum about it: +1 point
    • Make an appointment to see the Quack: +1 point
    • Research online to determine which are the ten most likely causes: +2 points
    • Have a panic attack and wait to die: +4 points
    • Call the ambulance and have yourself hospitilised: +5 points
  3. Your doctor has given you a good bill of health, do you
    • Thank them and leave satisfied: -1 point
    • Feel that a second opinion is warranted: +1 point
    • Argue with them: +3 points
    • No problem, you've already made appointments for three other doctors that morning. One of them will get it right.: +5 points
  4. How often do you suffer from migraines or headaches?
    • Never: -3 points
    • Rarely: -1 point
    • A few times per year: +0 points
    • Fairly frequently: +1 point
    • Often: +2 points
    • Why do you ask, do I look sick?: +3 points
  5. How do you deal with your hypochondria?
    • I'm not a hypochondriac (In Denial): +0 points
    • Read Hubpage articles about hypochondria: +1 point
    • Get busy doing something distractive: +2 points
    • Long conversations with my health professional: +3 points
    • I Google like a mad person: +4 points
    • I wait for the next symptom that proves I'm dieing: +5 points
  6. Select the list best reflecting the most serious illness you think you have experienced, but haven't been diagnosed with
    • Dandruff: -5 points
    • Cold, Flu, Bronchitis: -4 points
    • Diarrhea, Pneumonia, Asthma,: -3 points
    • Diabetes millitus, Gout, Heartburn: -2 points
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Gallstones, Rheumatoid arthritis: -1 point
    • Fibromyalgia, Polymyalgia, Multiple-Sclerosis, Eating Disorders,: +1 point
    • Depression, Crohn's Disease, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Allergies: +2 points
    • Alzheimer's Disease, Brain Tumours, Glomerulonephritis, HIV/AIDS: +3 points
    • Progeria, micropsia, Blaschko's lines, lipodystrophy, chiari malformation, cataplexy: +5 points

Interpreting Your Score

A score between -10 and 1 means: We feel you cheated on the quiz and are likely in denial. Man-up. We can only help you if you're honest with yourself... that rash on your neck looks remarkably like Pemphigus.

A score between 2 and 12 means: Borderline Hypochondriac, which is just another way of saying you held back on the quiz. We know the truth don't we...

A score between 13 and 20 means: You knew already didn't you, you're hypo. Doesn't help though, does it, what's an extra mental disorder on top of all your other health problems... will you please stop twitching while I'm talking to you.

A score between 21 and 24 means: You could write the book on hypochondria, in fact you probably did. I bet you know more latin than most know english.

A score between 25 and 28 means: Wow, you're so hypo you're probably infectious. Like the vortex of black hole, you are the central gravitational point to which all imagined illnesses find meaning.

Scroll to Continue

How'd you do?

Be sure to register your results in the poll below

Let's determine your ranking

Now let's determine your possible illness

OK, Shortly I'll get you to navigate through the maze of symptoms below. All things being equal (which we know they most definitely are not), you're set to quickly unravel the mystery illness that is yours.

Isn't it all a bit exciting, what will you end up with, a common communicable disease like the flu, or something more exotic like Malaria, or sinister, like Ebola, or unpronounceable, like Erythropoietic Porphyria ... relax, go have a drink of filtered water to calm yourself and then we can proceed.

So are you ready...

You will need a pen and paper and/or a calculator

It works like this

Below are a range of symptoms

  1. simply select those that apply and
  2. Then add together all the associated symptom codes. This will give you a Bundled Symptoms Code.
  3. Once you have the total, select that number from the Bundled Ailments List and instantly get a list (bundle) of (remotely) possible ailments

Authors note: I said (remotely) possible, not probable; big difference.

Good luck.

Bundled Symptoms List


abdominal pain


difficulty concentrating


Back pain




Chest pain


grinding noises


Head pain


watery bowel motion


Neck pain


memory lapses


Limb pain


angry outbursts




emotionally drained




itchy teeth




itchy bottom


pelvic discomfort


loss of appetite




weight loss




weight gain




dry mouth


dry mouth








short breathed
































blurred vision




double vision




triple vision








strong body odour




difficulty swallowing




difficulty urinating












Bundled Ailments List

Possible ailments listed in no particular order. You might want to even close your eyes and randomly pick one; they're all just as likely... remotely probable even.

1 - 200

200 - 500

500 - 1000


On a more serious note...

  • Communicable Disease Guide
    Information on 48 common reportable and non-reportable communicable diseases and conditions
  • Top 10 Incurable Diseases
    Top 10 Lists: Modern medicine has done much to erradicate and cure disease, but it has failed in some areas. Of those areas, at least one disease that cannot be cured is suffered by many people in the world every year - the common cold. This is a l
  • Diagnose-Me - Online Diagnosis - Diagnostic Tool
    The Analyst (TM) - Comprehensive Online Evaluations For Those Seeking Answers To Their Health Problems. Travel-Free Results, Now!
  • TOE Short Story :: Hypochondria | ::the open end::
    Today I have lymphoma. Yesterday was bowel cancer. I curiously palpate my underarms, searching for that slippery lump, stealthily hiding from my grasp. I check

© 2011 Richard Parr


Richard Parr (author) from Australia on August 18, 2015:

@Mel ~ thanks for reading, kids can be funny creatures. I still get a laugh rereading the conversation had with my daughter. Thankfully she too has outgrown the faze.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on August 18, 2015:

My son was a pretty serious hypochondriac when he was younger but now seems to have grown out of it, now being distracted by girls instead of imaginary diseases. Your poll gadget would not appear on my phone but this was great information.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 23, 2014:

You are a funny man...but also a very good writer. You have a distinctive writer's voice and it was a pleasure to read the way, I am so far removed from hypochondria that I can barely spell it.

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on April 02, 2012:

@Natasha ~ thank you

Natasha from Hawaii on March 31, 2012:

Hahahahaha. Voted up and funny!

Alexander Silvius from Portland, Oregon on December 09, 2011:

I am having a good laugh reading your comments.

Parrster, you are truly gracious to let us banter on YOUR comments section. But I have to point out that this is all Stessily's fault, her comments are so awesome they cannot be ignored - especially the undeniable truth about my beauty (I can't believe it's not butter!).

Stessily, you are a level 12 Grand Master commenter in my book too. Because parrster likes you so much, could you ask him to also serve ETea - "Earl Grey, Hot" just like Picard likes? I'm hoping I like ETea more than realTea.

I think the laughter is making the swelling go down, things have stopped looking like a fishbowl finally.

stessily on December 09, 2011:

parrster, not only are you humorous and thought-filled but you are also courteous and thoughtful! An eCoffee is always welcome except later in the day when I prefer an herbal eTea. Am I being demanding?

I am indebted to you for pointing out my warped humor; it's truly ghastly, isn't it? Shall I take full responsibility or blame it on some underlying illness which is expressing itself in churlishness?

I'd definitely guard against pushing Alexander Mark too far; he's defensive about those vikings!:-)

As far as I am concerned, thanks to your words, I am a level 12 grandmaster. Thank you! A dream come true which will not be wrecked by Alex's swollen eye! He doesn't seem to realize that he's so handsome even a swollen eye looks good on him! Did that get me out of a tight spot?

Appreciatively, Stessily

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on December 09, 2011:

@ Alexander & stessily ~ I'm so glad you've both become so well acquainted on my hub. Can I get you anything while you're here? An eCoffee maybe.

Is it Alex or Mark? I'll call you Alex for now. So sorry to hear about the eyeball Alex, I assume the swelling has gone down. I may have to include a further disclaimer reneging all responsibility for the onset of sudden symptoms while reading this hub; as it appears it may have kick-started a dormant hypochondria strain within you. I also apologise that stessily seems to think your suffering is so funny; though she is such a lovely person in every other way I'll deem to overlook her warped humour ;)

Stessily, as always, you are one of my favourite commenters, and if it were up to me I'd make you a level 12 grandmaster. However, this may only make Alex the more jealous and his eyeball will start swelling again; or even worse, that violent streak will transform into Alex the Viking, and he'll start shooting things.

Alexander Silvius from Portland, Oregon on December 08, 2011:

Now I see why you are a level 7 commenter and I a mere 6 - I can never break past that number 6. Grrrrrrrrrr. What the heck are you doing with guns in the library??? To be honest, guns in the library are not as bad as cell phones, THOSE people deserve to be shot (Oh my, if you've seen my Viking comment, then you'll start to think I have violent tendencies!).

stessily on December 08, 2011:

Alexander Mark, sorry to disabuse you of your firm denial of hilarity, but I have also seen your comment on PDXKaraokeGuy's hub on vikings, so I am firmly convinced that you do indeed have a humorous side. Nice balance!

All I can say is that if you keep this up --- and I hope that you do --- I will have to buy a massive supply of earplugs to hand out to all library patrons and staff in my vicinity!:-)

Laughing not quite as hysterically (the Tech lockdown has just been lifted but two are dead and the shooter is at large), but nevertheless still appreciative of the collaborative hilarity of Alexander & parrster, a great comedy team!

Kind regards, Stessily

Alexander Silvius from Portland, Oregon on December 08, 2011:

Dearest stessily, I was inspired by parrster's humor, I am merely the monkey that follows (but thank you).

stessily on December 07, 2011:

parrster, I am always glad that I'm your follower, and just now I appreciate one of the benefits of being your follower: I am notified when someone leaves a comment on one of your hubs.

I am sitting in a university library at a computer station where I am uncomfortably visible to all and sundry, and I am having to do everything I can not to be reduced to endless, childish giggling fits not only by (1) this hub, which I rejoiced in re-reading, but also by (2) Alexander Mark's comment above. I had no idea how hilarious he is!

What an inspiration you are, parrster!

Laughing hysterically but with kind regards, Stessily

Alexander Silvius from Portland, Oregon on December 07, 2011:

Oh boy, I had no idea how sick I really was until I read this hub. I think I'm dying and I'm calling the doctor right now. Is it normal for my hair to itch? I think one of my eyeballs is swelling, I hope it doesn't pop out. Why is no one answering? Am I going deaf? I better drive to the hospital, but what if I have diabetes and my eyesight goes while I'm in the middle of traffic? Thanks a lot!

Kim Harris on September 29, 2011:

How fun! I'm on my way to the store for my own hypochondriac bag! urine cup, thermometer....

feenix on August 03, 2011:

Hello, parrster,

I didn't get a second opinion but to set my mind at ease, my physician drew blood from me and sent it to the lab for an A.I.D.S. screen. The test came back negative but because I am the hypochondriac that I am, I was as worried as I could be, while awaiting the results.

Also, following that episode, I stopped making contact with women who could be described as "shaky" or "shady".

But now, I am obsessed with checking my body for moles. In fact, just the other day, I discovered this big black mole on my lower torso and, as soon as I saw it, my heart started racing.

Then I touched it to see what it felt like, and when I did that, I discovered that it was only a little ball of lint, probably from the black T-shirt that I had just taken off.

It is really difficult being me ;-)

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on August 03, 2011:

@martie ~ Yes, isn't aging a wonderful thing, bringing with it aches, pains and skin decorations unknown in youth. Like tree rings, you could probably guess my age by the number of brown age spots that have gradually appeared on my hands and face over the decades(not to mention the wrinkles). And cancer, few words can raise such worry. However, like you, I would rather ignore the ever growing indicators of aging and deteriorating health, until they warrant my attention. thanks for commenting and pushing all the buttons :)

@feenix ~ welcome to the hypo-C club. AIDS, now there's a worthy disease in any hypochondriacs lexicon. If you're gonna worry about illness, might as well start from the top. But seriously, glad to hear it was only eczema... did you get a second opinion?


@moiragallaga ~ Why thank you for your kind praise, I am very pleased you so liked this hub. Of course, I'm assuming you're still alive to read this, after suffering the leg pain; if not, then my condolences to your loved ones.


Moira Garcia Gallaga from Lisbon, Portugal on August 02, 2011:

This is really funny Parrster. Brilliantly written hub! Thanks to you I now know I am a borderline hypochondriac, haha. Got to go now, I got this pain on my leg. Could be a cramp but you never know right? :)

feenix on July 29, 2011:


This is an awesome, well-written and well-researched hub. It is professionally done.

Also, I am a helpless hypochondriac.

For example, about 10 years ago, this open sore appeared on my outer thigh.

Right after I discovered it, I went to my doctor and told him that I think I have A.I.D.S.

He asked, "Why do you think that?"

I said, well I've been involved with some women who are a "little shaky" and just look at this big open sore on my thigh.

My doctor looked at the sore and burst out laughing.

Then he said, "You don't have A.I.D.S. That's eczema."

Martie Coetser from South Africa on July 27, 2011:

OMW, I scored 39%! = “Borderline Hypochondriac...”

Yet, the older I get, the better aches and pains in my body manage to draw my attention. Especially the ‘new arrivals’. Really, the first thought that pops up in my mind is: “CaNcEr?” Perhaps I am not used to physical pain? Fortunately I am too busy to listen to my body, so 99,9% of my aches just disappear within an hour or three.

I once knew a woman who complained in the funniest way. The way she referred to her ailments: “Oh, today I have a foot.... Today I have a head... I have a neck... a stomach...” Then came the time she was seriously ill, and nobody took notice of her complaints. And so forth.... “I told you I have blood and flesh,” should be an inscription on her tombstone.

Parrster, I enjoyed this hub and voted it UP in all ways.

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on July 16, 2011:

@CASE1WORKER ~ oh dear, an itchy foot. Look, I don't want to be the harbinger of doom or anything, but that could be the onset of gangrene, or at the very least a leg ulcer, which is often the sign of advanced stage diabetes, which means you probably already have kidney damage (if they haven't failed already that is), of course this means your lymphatic system is stressed.... um... where do I send the flowers... I'm happy to post a eulogy.


CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on July 16, 2011:

I am very well thankyou. However if you don't see me around

here for a while try the local hospital as I have a really itchy left foot which is a sure sign of something nasty...

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on July 14, 2011:

@stessily ~ You've made my day with your lovely comment and generous praise. God bless.

stessily on July 13, 2011:

parrster: I want to let you know that I keep coming back to this hub. I hope some day that your youngest daughter will laugh her way through this hub and feel honored that her innocent ponderings inspired you to create this wonderful, wonderful hub. This ties with Molière's 'Le Malade Imaginaire' for funniest hypochondriac-themed writing but exceeds my dear Molière for the respectful understanding of the power that hypochondria seriously exerts upon its practitioners' lives. Your humor is definitely appreciated! As Oliver says, "Please, sir, can I have more!" More of both: serious hubs and humorous hubs. Again, voted up + useful + funny + beautiful + awesome

Kind regards, Stessily

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on July 12, 2011:

@heart4theword ~ very true. thanks for stopping by and commenting my friend.

@His daughter ~ glad you enjoyed this. it was a spontaneous hub based on a conversation with my youngest daughter. Thx for commenting.

@Charles Hilton ~ welcome to my hubs Charles. Glad to hear you're limiting your worries to only the big C. With the myriad ailments available, we could be worrying all day... if you'll excuse me, I just have to take my temperature ;)

Charles Hilton on July 11, 2011:

Excellent hub! And I can't help but chuckle at the title. lol

At my age, it's hard to not get a little nervous at physical anomalies when the dreaded "C" word lurks behind every potential diagnosis. But, other than getting Cancer, I have no real worries.

His daughter on July 10, 2011:

Very entertaining parrster! I'm thankful that I don't qualify.

heart4theword from hub on July 10, 2011:

We all have something in our lives that we have to deal with? Some seen, others have things that are internal that are not seen. Interesting subject to read about.

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on July 01, 2011:

@Tamarajo ~ Hey, nice to have you along, welcome to my hub-zone.

I have the opposite problem, as I get older the individual aches and pains have all joined together into one big one. Thanks for commenting, glad I could make you smile.

Tamarajo on July 01, 2011:

That was hilarious.

When I was younger I was more of a hypochondriac but the older I get the less room I have to worry about things that have not happened or could happen. Will deal with it if and when it happens.

funny article.

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on June 30, 2011:

@stessily ~ it sounds that you have some wonderful hubs on the boil, I especially look forward to the C.S.Lewis one. Thank you again for your gentle reminder; both you and your comments are dearly appreciated. God bless.

stessily on June 30, 2011:

parrster: I was giving a gentle reminder of my interest in part 2 of "Did God Foresee This", and I understand about extended delays as I have more than 8 hubs in imaginal or neophyte states! (My hubs on Canada's John McCrae, Australia's Will Longstaff, and C.S. Lewis on Miracles have been patiently queued for almost a year now!)

It is worth waiting for part 2, however long, for it to be written as you wish. As one of your many appreciative followers, I simply await the happy notification that is automatically generated when you release another hub. :)

Blessings and kind regards,


Richard Parr (author) from Australia on June 29, 2011:

@stessily ~ Thanks for this comment. My humour is something I use in moderation, as you can never be sure of its interpretation from the readers end. I am glad you like this hub though.

Yes, the "Did God Foresee this" Hub. I knew someone was going to pull me up on that particular item sooner or later. My problem is that I get involved in too many things simultaneously. Being male, and therefore not great with multitasking, that generally spells 'expect extended delays'. I must have about eight hubs in various states of completion, and, as is human, I put off the harder ones. That said, thank you for the reminder, and I will make a diligent effort to get it finished and posted. God bless.

stessily on June 29, 2011:

parrster: There's a great sense of humor that nods in the background of your serious hubs, and so I thoroughly enjoyed this hub in which you let the humor run amok. I only scored 18 percent on the quiz, and I could only find two symptoms, earache and tired, but it was a truly enlightening experience! :) Thanks for the smiles, and on a more serious note, how is part 2 of "Did God foresee this?" coming along?

Kind regards, Stessily

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on June 29, 2011:

@jimagain ~ Yes, feelings can't be trusted. In fact, good feelings are the classic indicator of something terrible about to happen; such that it should really be called happychondria.

Yes, I'm happy (Umm, careful) with the way the hub came together also. As always, thx for commenting and good health to you.

Richard Parr (author) from Australia on June 29, 2011:

@WillStarr ~ LoL

@SusieQ42 ~ I'm afraid this hub delves as deep (or shallow) as I'm qualified to comment into the malady, although I have read that childhood trauma can kiskstart it. Thanks for stopping by.

Jim Henderson from Hattiesburg, Mississippi on June 29, 2011:

I knew it! I was feeling way too good to be healthy!!

I loved the poll and the way you put this Hub together. I voted UP and funny!

Thank you Dr. Parrster. Now if you'll excuse me, I must go and pick out a casket!

SusieQ42 on June 29, 2011:

Three people in my life have some kind of ailment all of the time. They spend way too much money (and brain power) to heal their ravaged bodies! When it affects the finances and my peace of mind it gives me a head ache or a stiff neck or a back ache or frazzled nerves and ultimately sends me into a tailspin...or all of the above. I pray often, thereby have established with the Lord that otherwise I would not have. Thanks for the hub. (What I really want to know is why? Attention? Low self esteem? Past abuse? Why? Why? Why?)

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on June 28, 2011:

On a gravestone:

"I told you I was sick!"

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