Phobias Types Nosophobia or Fear of a Disease By Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer and editor with a deep interest in phobias and other mental health topics. Learn about our editorial process Updated on April 17, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Daniel B. Block, MD Medically reviewed by Daniel B. Block, MD LinkedIn Twitter Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Thomas Barwick/Stone/Getty Images Nosophobia is the irrational fear of having a specific disease. The origins of the word Nosophobia come from ‘nosos’ and phobos which mean disease and fear in Greek. In recent years, nosophobia has also been referred to as cyberchondria. This stems from a lot of the information that is at the root of the fear is found in "cyberspace." Risk Factors Exposure to high levels of media coverage about disease and the risks of contracting diseasesHaving suffered traumatic health problems in the pastRepeated exposure to people with serious illnesses Nosophobia is a type of specific phobia, and appears to be more common among students and researchers who spend a great deal of time reading about specific diseases. These conditions are often called "medical student’s disease." Relation to Hypochondriasis Nosophobia is related to hypochondriasis, but there are several important differences between the two conditions. The most important difference is specificity. A person with hypochondriasis believes they have a life-threatening illness despite that they have little to no physical symptoms. Someone with nosophobia, however, is afraid of contracting a specific disease and becomes convinced that they could have the symptoms of that particular disease. However, not everyone who is afraid of getting sick or contracting a contagious illness suffers from nosophobia. Those who suffer from this phobia exhibit symptoms that can cause limitations in their lives. Illness Anxiety Disorder Many mental health specialists have termed both nosophobia and hypochondriasis as illness anxiety disorder. In fact, many people across the globe have been diagnosed with this condition, which can become debilitating as the sufferer is convinced that they have contracted a certain illness. Causes Anxiety about one's health. Someone close to the nosophobic died from an incurable illness. Patients with other behavioral disorders, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, clinical depression, or obsessive compulsive disorders may be more likely to fear serious illness. Somatic amplification disorder, which is related to perception and cognition, can be a cause of nosophobia. In this situation, the nosophobic is negative to the thought of being sick. Online reading or watching television shows about incurable diseases can trigger excessive fear of becoming ill. Major global disease outbreaks such as the COVID-19 pandemic, could spark Nosophobia in individuals. Treatment Cognitive behavioral therapy to help the nosophobic manage anxiety related to the fear of illness is often recommended. In addition to therapy, alternative techniques are also recommended. They include: MeditationPositive affirmationVisualization 7 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Milosevic I. McCabe RE. Phobias: The Psychology of Irrational Fear: The Psychology of Irrational Fear. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood; 2015. Schmidt C. Scientific American. Cyberchondriacs Just Know They Must Be Sick. April 5, 2019. Meng J, Gao C, Tang C, Wang H, Tao Z. Prevalence of hypochondriac symptoms among health science students in China: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 2019;14(9):e0222663. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0222663 Cleveland Clinic. Illness Anxiety Disorder: Beyond Hypochondriasis. Reviewed July 25, 2015. Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders. Behavior Disorders: Definitions, Characteristics & Related Information. Satsangi AK, Maria PB. Anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms in palliative care: from neuro-psychobiological response to stress, to symptoms’ management with clinical hypnosis and meditative states. Annals of Palliative Medicine. 2018;7(1):75-111. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Treatment. By Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer and editor with a deep interest in phobias and other mental health topics. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Phobias Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.