Hypochondria: Woeful Imaginings

Susan Baur, Author University of California Press $30 (0p) ISBN 978-0-520-06107-1
While hypochondriacs drive many doctors to despair, clinical understanding of this elusive condition has advanced well beyond Freud, who rejected these chronic complainers as untreatable. Baur cites famous exampleslifelong vomiter Charles Darwin, ever-convalescent poet Sara Teasdale, fellow-suffers James Boswell and Samuel Johnsonto show how the hypochondriac uses ailments, real or imagined, to cope with personal problems. Exposing the ways a preoccupation with illness can be instilled in childhood, she evaluates various therapeutic approachesneo-Freudian, behavior modification, group sessions, drugs, family therapy. She ponders the high incidence of hypochondria among doctors, dancers, musicians and artists, and investigates the stresses that generate this condition among the elderly. A psychologist and author of The Edge of an Unfamiliar World, Baur views American culturewith its self-centeredness, widespread poverty and obsession with the bodyas a breeding ground for hypochondria. (April)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
Ebook - 259 pages - 978-0-520-90955-7
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-0-520-06751-6
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