Hypochondriasis is ‘a preoccupation with fears of having, or the idea that one has, a serious disease based on the person’s misinterpretation of bodily symptoms’, and this preoccupation ‘persists despite appropriate medical evaluation and reassurance’ (American Psychiatric Association 2000: 507). In addition, the individual recognizes that their fears are exaggerated, the concern regarding their health is not just one of several domains causing anxiety (as is the case in generalized anxiety disorder), and it causes significant distress or impairment to their life. The focus of anxiety may be on one or many areas of the body, and on a single disease or a whole plethora of serious medical conditions. Many writers use the term ‘health anxiety’ instead of hypochondriasis because it has fewer negative connotations.