JOHN F. BURNUM, M.D., F.A.C.P.
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The term "the worried well" (1) has long troubled me. On the contrary, in my experience patients may worry themselves sick; and worry, fear, and dread all spell unfitness or sickness, not wellness. Angst and well-being simply cannot stand together. As Richard Scott adds, "there must be something the matter with someone who goes to see a doctor when there is nothing the matter with him." This self-contradictory term, originally coined for patients with minor disorders, who conceivably might be sifted out and treated by paramedical personnel, has taken on a demeaning note: that many are unworthy neurotic "crocks," and
BURNUM JF. The Worried Sick. Ann Intern Med. ;88:572. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-88-4-572_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1978;88(4):572.
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