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This question was posted in English.stackexchange.

Is there a word for the opposite condition of hypochondriasis? For example, someone who denies being sick when they clearly are? I would just say that they are "in denial". Is there any other adequate word?

Some answered egosyntonic. Is it correct?

P.S. Credits to Renan

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  • $\begingroup$ I guess there are a couple of states, such as delusional symptoms in schizophrenia, when persons diagnosed with this disorder claim to be healthy, while others (such as doctors, relatives, therapists) define some observed behaviour as "ill". Yet, there can obviously be quite some debate about this issue from an epistemological point of view. Other examples, though qualitatively different, might be psychosomatic disorders in which, to a a certain degree, people do not accept other explanations than somatic ones for the suffering they experience. $\endgroup$ – bunsenbaer Jul 18 '15 at 0:42
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It seems to depend on the reason for denying their illness...

Egosyntonic:

... a term referring to behaviors, values, feelings that are in harmony with or acceptable to the needs and goals of the ego, or consistent with one's ideal self-image. ... Many personality disorders are considered to be egosyntonic ... Anorexia ... is also considered egosyntonic because many of its sufferers deny that they have a problem.

People with personality disorders for example, may be fully aware and accepting of their behaviour, they simply don't see it as a problem.

Denial / abnegation:

... is used for a psychological defense mechanism ..., in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. ... In denial, an individual does not see or is mostly unconscious of existence of the truth or fact. The choice to refuse reality, then, is unconscious as well.

Someone may deny their illness because it makes them uncomfortable in some way - eg, they are embarrassed about it or concerned about negative perceptions by others.

Anosognosia:

... a deficit of self-awareness, a condition in which a person who suffers a certain disability seems unaware of the existence of his or her disability. ... Anosognosia is relatively common following different etiologies of brain injury ..., but can appear to occur in conjunction with virtually any neurological impairment.

In Anton–Babinski syndrome (visual anosognosia) for example, a person is blind, but nonetheless claims to be able see, and this is due to brain damage in the visual cortex.

Hypochondria is undue alarm about any physical or psychological symptoms, no matter how minor they may be. So I would argue that the best counterpart is minimisation - a cognitive distortion:

... is the opposite of exaggeration. ... downplaying the significance of an event or emotion ...

A medical condition that fits this description is anosodiaphoria:

... a condition in which a person who suffers disability due to brain injury seems indifferent to the existence of their handicap. ... a disorder of the body schema in which patients verbally acknowledge a clinical problem ... but fail to be concerned about it.

So while a hypochondriac makes a big deal out of a small problem, anosodiaphoria is making a small deal out of a big problem.

Also see hyperchondria.

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  • $\begingroup$ How about the la belle indifference? $\endgroup$ – Jaeger Jay Jul 21 '15 at 6:17

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