Hypochondriacs live longer was the name of a book by the writer and psychiatrist four years ago Jacob Hein. This has been proven by studies. And the author also had a thesis as to how the survival advantage comes about: “Anyone who is very concerned about their health does not overlook signs of illness and goes to the doctor early.”

It remained unclear which studies Hein was referring to, but there are now findings to the contrary: Hypochondriacs live shorter lives than people without severe health concerns. Swedish psychiatrists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm came to this conclusion in the specialist journal JAMA Psychiatry. The starting point for their statistical analysis was 20 years of health and mortality data. 4,129 patients diagnosed with hypochondriacal disorder were compared with 41,290 people without hypochondria – a group ten times as large, of comparable age and in similar living conditions.