This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
This disease derived its name from the supposition that it was dependent upon disease of the liver. The malady assumes a great variety of forms. The patient is generally moody and desponding, the degree of sadness sometimes being so great that nothing will provoke a smile. The patient imagines himself to be the victim of almost any number of incurable diseases. If the mind is relieved of one cause of apprehension, some other equally groundless one will be quickly discovered. Hypochondriacal patients seldom sleep well. They exhibit in their minds great want of resolution and lack of mental force and vigor. Their circulation is generally poor, hands and feet being nearly always cold. The digestion is disturbed in nearly all cases.
A very frequent cause of hypochondria is sexual excesses in youth, the consequences of which, though bad enough, are sometimes immensely exaggerated. An inactive condition of the liver, derangement of the digestion, nervous debility, and various other functional disturbances of the body, may give rise to hypochondria.
It is important that this affection should receive prompt and thorough attention, as, in many cases it is a precursor of insanity. When taken in its early stages, almost every case is curable by proper measures, which consist in removing all the real causes of the af fection, and then endeavoring to convince the patient of the non-existence of the imaginary evils. When the digestion is disturbed, such treatment as has been recommended for the various forms of indigestion should be applied. The same should be done in case the liver is affected. Nervous debility requires the treatment which has been recommended for this condition. In many cases, traveling will be of great benefit to the patient, though this is not to be recommended in all cases. If the difficulty does not disappear in a short time by the carrying out of the above suggestions, an intelligent physician should be consulted.