Created By: DragonQuestZ on February 3, 2012 Last Edited By: DragonQuestZ on February 5, 2012


Thinking one has an illness one does not actually have.

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A Frenchman, a German and a Jew walk into a bar. "I'm tired and thirsty," says the Frenchman. "I must have wine." "I'm tired and thirsty," says the German. "I must have beer." "I'm tired and thirsty," says the Jew. "I must have diabetes."

I *cought* can't Describe Hypochondria Here. I, I think I have Rigelian Fever. I can tell because I blew my nose three times today!

This trope is the tendency for people to often, if not outright chronically, think they are coming down with diseases based on vague symptoms.

This is usually Played for Laughs in fiction, showing these people as whiny, lazy, and/or paranoid. This is especially common among Jews making fun of themselves for being like this. This can be Played for Drama, if someone is actually debilitated by this, but it's very rare.

These days, using the internet for self diagnosis has become a new tool for this trope.

A Sickly Neurotic Geek is more likely to be this than actually sickly.

A Super Trope to Induced Hypochondria.

Compare Playing Sick (when characters know they aren't actually sick), You Don't Want to Catch This (which is faking an illness for other reasons), Mistaken for Dying, Jewish Complaining (which often involves something that might get them sick).


  • Woody Allen is more than likely to play this character.
  • Kyle's east coast cousin in South Park is like this.
  • Wonderella once thinks she's come down with bird flu.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • February 3, 2012
    Moliere's The Hypochronriac / The Imaginary Invalid (depending on your translation). Ironically, Moliere died on stage playing the title role.

    In Parks And Recreation, Chris was born with a blood disease and it was predicted that he would die within days. As an adult, he's a health not in ridiculously good shape, but becomes a hypochondriac and germaphobe when there's a chance of his becoming sick. This is played for both humor and drama.
  • February 3, 2012
    ^ The second title is the proper translation of the french one.

    Michael's mom, in the first episode of Burn Notice, is hypochondriac. This was dropped from later episodes.

    In fiction, it's often used as a way to make a character nagging or appear more insufferable, especially towards whoever they keep complaining of their various ills to.
  • February 3, 2012
    ^ I think Characterization Marches On is the proper pothole for the Burn Notice entry.
  • February 4, 2012
    Not really. It's literally gone by episode 2 :-P The Pilot has a lot of weirdness like that.
  • February 4, 2012
    Still think that trope is overused for nearly any time something in an early episode is dropped.

    Plus it fits that other trope better, since it was an attempt to characterize her that didn't work.
  • February 4, 2012
    These are extra funny when the disease in question isn't even real (or its extinct), even in the work of fiction.
  • February 4, 2012
    There has been at least one hypochondriac in House much to his displeasure
  • February 4, 2012
    Reginald Barclay, a "beloved" recurring character on the Star Trek TNG, had this among his other neuroses. Unlike most of the characters in the universe (but not all: Dr. Polanski also didn't), he didn't trust the teleporters and had an outright breakdown when he had no choice but to beam down to a space station.
  • February 4, 2012
    Scrubs has a minor recurring hypochondriac. Doctors dread taking his case.
  • February 4, 2012
    Can lead to a "Boy who cried 'Wolf'" moment when the hypochondriac actually does get sick.

    And in shows with Abusive Parents or Comedic Sociopathy, a character's genuine illness may be brusquely dismissed with accusations of this. "Pnuemonia, my ass. You're just lazy!"
  • February 4, 2012
    Compare Munchausen Syndrome. People who suffer from this act like they've got the most horrible diseases just to get attention, down to the point where some poison themselfes just to make it look more real.

    (Originally I wanted to add this as an RL example, but a quick Google search revealed that it already had it's own trope. Speaking of said trope: Is it supposed to be spelled with only one H?)
  • February 4, 2012
    • House deals with these people on a regular basis during his free clinic hours. One notable example was a guy who was convinced he was getting diabetes because of his family history, and when he did get sick it turned out to be caused by the "special diet" he made his wife make him.

    • In Liberty Meadows Leslie the frog is a hypochondriac who diagnoses himself with anything from lead poisoning (from a pencil) to "ovarian cysts", much to Frank's frustration.
  • February 4, 2012
    "There has been at least one hypochondriac in House much to his displeasure"

    The only thing that would displease him more would be if it actually was lupus!
  • February 4, 2012
    • In Guys And Dolls, Nathan Detroit's fiancee Adelaide is a hypochondriac, as shown in the song "Adelaide's Lament."
  • February 4, 2012
    One House example that is from the main case and not clinic duty is half of the Death In The Clouds episode.