Divakar Kapoor (name changed), a 50-year-old senior banker, walked into a city clinic with his wife, almost on the verge of divorce. As he sat across the table to talk about himself, he started explaining about excruciating pain in his left eye.
“The way Kapoor was talking, it was way too disturbing. In great detail, he explained about his pain in the left eye among others. His pain was unrealistic because he had done multiple tests before and all his tests denied any such pain. His wife was very frustrated with him and his elder son had stopped talking to him due to the same reason. So, when he came to me with his wife, we had to un-clutter his fears firstly. He reached me after his HR in the bank pestered him to get a certificate of mental fitness among others. He would keep thinking he had multiple pains and hence, skipped office regularly,” said Dr Kersi Chavda, a consultant psychiatrist from PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre.
Like Amitabh Bachchan’s character in Piku, Kapoor was diagnosed with hypochondriasis- a health anxiety disorder where the patient keeps worrying about having serious illness. In the film, Bachchan plays the role of a hypochondriac, who keeps complaining about varieties of health issues while all medical tests prove otherwise.
The ailment is not very commonly found. However, it can be a great pain to the surrounding loved ones. “The trouble is, we have to really examine the person over and over again just to be sure that there is really no imaginary pain,” added Dr Chavda.
Kapoor, however, is under treatment for the past nine months and is improving.
“Honestly, hypochondriasis is not very common. It is generally seen among anxious people. However, seeking professional help is a must,” said Dr Sagar Mundada, a Mumbai-based psychiatrist.