on August 8, 1999
As someone who has suffered with hypochondriasis for years, I can tell you that it is indeed a very real psychological disease that can ruin not only the patient's life, but those who have to live with him or her. I also believe it is linked to OCD (obsessive compulsive behavior) and other diseases such as fibromyalgia. These are all due to chemical imbalances as Cantor points out and they can be helped by the use of SSRI drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, and by behavioral therapy. There are millions of people who have hypochondriasis, but most either are overlooked by their doctors as crocks or they never go to doctors because they fear the doctors will indeed find a real physical disease.
This book is well written and I am surprised that it sales rank is so low and that no one else has written a review.
on January 3, 1999
I've allways had a lot of anxiety about my health, and lately it has gotten worse. This book helped me see that I am not alone. I recognized myself in a lot of the case studies. It has really inspired me to get treatment for my problem. I was also glad to see that she addressed the stigma hypochondria has in our society.
on January 7, 2010
I was given a preview copy of this book in 1996. For as long as I can remember, I have suffered from horrible illness anxiety, and it had reached a point in which it was getting debilitating - calling the ambulance and showing up in emergency rooms on numerous occasions, undergoing a battery of tests, and regularly consulting books and nurse advice lines (this was before the Internet became a part of our daily lives). I had always been teased about being a hypochondriac, but I didn't really understand what hypochondria really was until reading this book. I instantly related to the ordeals of Carla Cantor and the many people whose stories she included in her book. It was like the sun finally came out, revealing that I wasn't alone. I happened to live in New York City at the time, and the book propelled me to enroll in the study being conducted by Dr. Fallon (who wrote the intro). If it weren't for this important, accessible, and highly engaging book, I can't imagine being a functional human being today.
on August 15, 2003
The Phantom Illness addresses the disease with an ingenuine distance, and it is apparent that the authors know the facts but not the real life difficulties that arise. The author delivers her book with an arrogance that my book club finds, well, unfit for writing. One to avoid!