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Review: Psychotherapy may be beneficial for people with hypochondriasis

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Dr Alex Thomson

Correspondence to: Dr Alex Thomson, Research Associate, Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK; alex.thomson@iop.kcl.ac.uk

QUESTION

Question:

Is psychotherapy effective for people suffering from hypochondriasis?

Outcomes:

Hypochondrial cognition or behaviour rated by a validated hypochondriasis or health anxiety scale (Health Anxiety Inventory, Health Anxiety Questionnaire, Whitley Index, Somatic Symptom Index or Illness Attitudes Scale), or appropriate visual analogue scale.

METHODS

Design:

Systematic review with meta-analysis.

Data sources:

MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, AMED, CINAHL, CENTRAL, Cochrane Trials register, ISI Web of Knowledge and WorldCat Dissertations were searched in August 2007. Reference lists of retrieved articles were also searched to identify additional studies and experts in the field contacted to identify unpublished trials.

Study selection and analysis:

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing individual or group psychotherapy with placebo, waiting list, treatment as usual or no treatment in adults (aged 18–75 years) diagnosed with hypochondriasis (ICD-10, DSM-IV or abridged criteria) were included. Psychotherapy interventions included cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, psychoeducation, brief psychodynamic therapy, …

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