El domingo Woody Allen publicó un texto en el New York Times sobre la hipocondría en el que dice que no es hipocondríco sino alarmista. La diferencia con un hipocondríaco, es que un alarmista no imagina las enfermedades sino que espera que cualquier evento en el cuerpo, por pequeño que sea es gravísimo...
What I am is an alarmist, which is in the same ballpark as the hypochondriac or, should I say, the same emergency room. Still there is a fundamental difference. I don’t experience imaginary maladies — my maladies are real.
What distinguishes my hysteria is that at the appearance of the mildest symptom, let’s say chapped lips, I instantly leap to the conclusion that the chapped lips indicate a brain tumor. Or maybe lung cancer. In one instance I thought it was Mad Cow.
En contraste, leo en el Laphams Quarterly una simpática nota de "Jerome K. Jerome" publicada en 1889. Su descripción de la hipocondría tiene que ver con el acceso a información médica, que en la época sin duda era restringido, y que hoy como todo mundo que usa internet sabe la generalización de ese acceso ha vuelto la hipocondría una enfermedad más común. Nada como wikipedia para autodiagnosticarse.
I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch—hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book and read all I came to read, and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves and began to study indolently diseases in general. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into—some fearful, devastating scourge, I know—and before I had glanced half down the list of “premonitory symptoms,” it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.
I sat for a while frozen with horror, and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever—read the symptoms—discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it—wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus’ Dance—found, as I expected, that I had that too—began to get interested in my case and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically—read up ague and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright’s disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid’s knee.