Objectives. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the frequency and presentation of cyberchondria (CYB) in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders (ADs), and major depression disorder (MDD). Methods. Seventy-seven patients (OCD:25, ADs:26, MDD:26) referred to a tertiary psychiatry outpatient clinic and 27 healthy controls (HCs) were included. A ‘working’ definition of CYB was used to measure CYB frequency. CYB severity was measured with the Cyberchondria Severity Scale (CSS). Results. CYB as currently defined was present in just 1.3% of the combined patients’ sample. Using a broader definition (omitting the disability criterion), we found a higher distribution (OCD:12%, ADs:19.2%, MDD:15.4%, HCs:3.7%) and greater CYB symptom severity. Patients with OCD (63.3 ± 18.9) and ADs (63.3 ± 25.9) showed a higher CYB severity, compared with HCs (48.4 ± 9.9, p<.05). In the combined patients’ sample, a positive correlation was found between the CSS scores and measures of health anxiety or hypochondriasis. Higher CYB symptom severity emerged in patients with a positive family history of psychiatric disorders and in those prescribed benzodiazepines or mood-stabilisers. Conclusion. CYB represents a common transdiagnostic syndrome in patients with OCD, ADs, and MDD with a spectrum of severity and indicates a variable burden of illness, supporting the need for specific clinical considerations and interventions.Key points Cyberchondria (CYB) represents a common transdiagnostic syndrome in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depressive disorders. CYB’s frequency as a syndrome of compulsive online health searches associated with an increased anxiety and distress was reported in 10–20% patients. Health anxiety/hypochondriasis showed a strong correlation with CYB. Patients with a positive family history of psychiatric disorders and those prescribed benzodiazepines or mood-stabilisers showed higher CYB symptom severity. Considering the spread of Internet use for health-related information, additional studies investigating CYB in clinical samples are encouraged.

A preliminary investigation of Cyberchondria and its correlates in a clinical sample of patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder, anxiety and depressive disorders attending a tertiary psychiatric clinic / M. Vismara, B. Benatti, L. Ferrara, A. Colombo, M. Bosi, A. Varinelli, L. Pellegrini, C.A. Viganò, N.A. Fineberg, B. Dell'Osso. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY IN CLINICAL PRACTICE. - ISSN 1365-1501. - (2021 May 25). [Epub ahead of print] [10.1080/13651501.2021.1927107]

A preliminary investigation of Cyberchondria and its correlates in a clinical sample of patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder, anxiety and depressive disorders attending a tertiary psychiatric clinic

Vismara M.;Benatti B.;Ferrara L.;Bosi M.;Varinelli A.;Viganò C. A.;Dell'Osso B.
2021-05-25

Abstract

Objectives. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the frequency and presentation of cyberchondria (CYB) in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders (ADs), and major depression disorder (MDD). Methods. Seventy-seven patients (OCD:25, ADs:26, MDD:26) referred to a tertiary psychiatry outpatient clinic and 27 healthy controls (HCs) were included. A ‘working’ definition of CYB was used to measure CYB frequency. CYB severity was measured with the Cyberchondria Severity Scale (CSS). Results. CYB as currently defined was present in just 1.3% of the combined patients’ sample. Using a broader definition (omitting the disability criterion), we found a higher distribution (OCD:12%, ADs:19.2%, MDD:15.4%, HCs:3.7%) and greater CYB symptom severity. Patients with OCD (63.3 ± 18.9) and ADs (63.3 ± 25.9) showed a higher CYB severity, compared with HCs (48.4 ± 9.9, p<.05). In the combined patients’ sample, a positive correlation was found between the CSS scores and measures of health anxiety or hypochondriasis. Higher CYB symptom severity emerged in patients with a positive family history of psychiatric disorders and in those prescribed benzodiazepines or mood-stabilisers. Conclusion. CYB represents a common transdiagnostic syndrome in patients with OCD, ADs, and MDD with a spectrum of severity and indicates a variable burden of illness, supporting the need for specific clinical considerations and interventions.Key points Cyberchondria (CYB) represents a common transdiagnostic syndrome in patients with obsessive–compulsive disorder, anxiety, and depressive disorders. CYB’s frequency as a syndrome of compulsive online health searches associated with an increased anxiety and distress was reported in 10–20% patients. Health anxiety/hypochondriasis showed a strong correlation with CYB. Patients with a positive family history of psychiatric disorders and those prescribed benzodiazepines or mood-stabilisers showed higher CYB symptom severity. Considering the spread of Internet use for health-related information, additional studies investigating CYB in clinical samples are encouraged.
Cyberchondria; obsessive–compulsive disorder; online health information searches; problematic usage of the Internet
Settore MED/25 - Psichiatria
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY IN CLINICAL PRACTICE
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/855145
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