ICBT for Severe Health Anxiety

  • Erik Hedman
  • Brjánn Ljótsson
  • Nils Lindefors


Severe health anxiety is characterised by a persistent and exaggerated fear of serious illness, based on misinterpretations of bodily symptoms. It is a common condition, especially in medical settings, and associated with functional disability. The disorder exhibits features similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and generalised anxiety disorder and can be conceptualised as an anxiety disorder.

ICBT for severe health anxiety is a treatment based on systematic exposure and response prevention integrating mindfulness components to facilitate an accepting stance towards thoughts and feelings. The treatment has been found to be highly effective in two large-scale randomised controlled trials and yields improvements above and beyond that of taking part of an active and credible psychological treatment. The treatment seems to be working for most clients and is suitable for those with high levels of health anxiety. The treatment is highly cost-effective and the cost of treatment is offset by net societal economic gains in a short time frame. The research area is however new and there are many important future research questions yet to be answered.


Health anxiety Cognitive behaviour therapy Exposure and responsprevention Internet 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Hedman
    • 1
  • Brjánn Ljótsson
    • 1
  • Nils Lindefors
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical NeuroscienceKarolinska InstitutetSolnaSweden

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