The actual word hypochondriac was first known in the English language in the late 16th century. It was not because everyone was suddenly afraid of all kinds of diseases. This word comes from Greek roots that mean “under the cartilage of the breastbone”. So actually this word would mean a specific part of the body.
What is interesting is that the upper abdomen was thought to be the place from which melancholy occurred. Today we know that melancholy means a sort of deep sadness. This mix up occurred back in the 16th century because medical ailments of all kinds and also people’s personalities were thought to be regulated by body fluids that were called the four humors – blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile, otherwise known as melancholy.
A person’s mood and health were thought to be influenced by different portions of these fluids. If a person got angry and sullen he or she had too much melancholy. Confusing isn’t it? It gets better. Doctors at that time began referring to melancholy by the term hypochondriac, believing that fluid to be produced in this particular abdominal area. How am I doing on the explanation?
By the 17th century, hypochondriac was a term used for people who suffered from depression and melancholy with no cause. The only cause could have been abdominal pain because it was the abdomen that doctor’s thought melancholy came from. Finally, in the 19th century, the term hypochondriac was used to describe a person who suffered from an illness that had no specific cause or reason.
Today you could say that modern hypochondriacs are those who are very aware of every small pain or change or strange feeling in their bodies and rush to their computers to look up their symptoms on websites like WebMD and then pick up all kinds of ideas, in the end making themselves feel even sicker, though they are perfectly healthy.
If this post has caused you melancholy you can blame it on the author.
Do you know someone who is a hypochondriac?
Do you look for medical advice on the Internet?
11 CommentsLeave a Reply
Unfortunately I do know people with this condition.
My dear friend who lives below me is unfortunately obsessed with her health and thinks she’s very ill but when she went to the doctor he told her it was all psychological
I prefer to go to the doctor for medical advice.?
The internet is a great sea of information.
it is sadly 2 inches deep.
you are standing on a 50-foot platform.
do you jump headfirst?
or do you climb back down?
I was once searching for something and it kept leading me on to bigger and more interesting things Doc and when I was done I was so deep into the Internet that I could hardly get out. If I remember correctly since this was a long time ago I wound up in a Chinese site with no translation and almost could not back out
the amazing power of file quit!
i search the deep web from time to time as part of my job.
there is a place you have to be really careful where you go.
No i don’t look for any medical advice on internet
Sometimes I also get some medical advice on the internet
Trying to decipher each word and its origin would be a herculean task. Bad enough English language is a bundle of confusion (lol)
You are so right Grace. You should have seen the looks I got when I was giving instructions in English in Latvia when I asked Do you need British or American English?
The only way one can manage English is by mugging it as there is no logic.