That’s the takeaway from a recent Swedish study that found that people with what is now called illness anxiety disorder may die earlier than others. (He also points out that while the disparity might seem grim, the absolute risk of death among people with health anxiety remained low.) Studies have shown about 3-5% of people have “what we call pathological health anxiety”, Mataix-Cols says. Illness anxiety patients may continue to seek physical care, but that can be done in conjunction with therapy. Among the key elements of illness anxiety disorder is reassurance seeking, says Mataix-Cols, and with Google, we’re all self-diagnosing medical students.