It’s often poked fun at, but hypochondria — or “somatic symptom disorder,” as this crippling preoccupation with disease is now officially called — is no laughing matter. With it, people become so convinced that they’re suffering from a life-threatening illness (despite any medical evidence) that all aspects of their existence, from work to relationships, suffer severe fallout. Still, legendary high achievers from Charlotte Brontë to Andy Warhol have succeeded in spite of it — as have modern-day celebs including Lena Dunham and Howie Mandel, both of whom have managed to find humor in their fear. Here’s how they, and other famous folks, have addressed their struggles with the illness...
Hypochondriac Confessions: Celebrities Speak Out
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Lena Dunham's boyfriend Jack Antonoff's disorder has worsened lately due to a recent bout of pneumonia,according to a recent New York magazine profile of the musician. "I almost died," the lead guitarist of the rock band Fun says. “I didn’t know you could get sick like that, short of, like, cancer or AIDS or having your leg chopped off.” He’d been diagnosed with pneumonia when his fever spiked to 103, sending him to a doctor who noted he was on anti-anxiety meds and advised him to pop a Valium. “And I was like, I’m not having a f***ing panic attack. I know what that feels like,” he says. (And, lo and behold, he was having a septic reaction.)