Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of health anxiety. However, little is known about the effectiveness of group CBT in the treatment of health anxiety. The current study is the largest study that has investigated the effectiveness of combined individual and group CBT for patients with the diagnosis of hypochondriasis (N=80). Therapy outcomes were evaluated by several questionnaires. Patients showed a large improvement on these primary outcome measures both post-treatment (Cohen’s d=0.82-1.08) and at a 12-month follow-up (Cohen’s d=1.09-1.41). Measures of general psychopathology and somatic symptoms showed significant improvements, with small to medium effect sizes. Patients with more elevated hypochondriacal characteristics at therapy intake showed a larger therapy improvement, accounting for 7-8% of the variance in therapy outcome. CBT group therapy has therefore been shown to be an appropriate and cost-effective treatment for health anxiety.
Weck F., Gropalis M., Hiller W. & Bleichhardt G. (2015) Effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral group therapy for patients with hypochondriasis (health anxiety). Journal of Anxiety Disorder, 30 (1). doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2014.12.012. Epub 2015 Jan 3.