1. a person who is abnormally anxious about their car’s health. —Hypocarndriasis, also known as hypocarndria, or automotive health anxiety disorder, refers to worry about one’s automobile having a serious issue. This debilitating condition is the result of an inaccurate perception of the condition of one’s automotive systems despite the absence of an actual problem. An individual suffering from hypocarndriasis is known as a hypocarndriac. Hypocarndriacs become unduly alarmed about any symptoms they detect by unusual sounds or vibrations, no matter how minor the symptom may be, and are convinced that their automobile has, or is about to be diagnosed with, a serious problem.
Often, hypocarndria persists even after a mechanic has evaluated an automobile and reassured the owner that their concerns about symptoms do not have an underlying mechanical or electrical basis or, if there is a issue, their concerns are far in excess of what is appropriate for the level of the problem. Many hypocarndriacs focus on a particular symptom as the catalyst of their worrying, such as a rattle, a squeak, or a slight, occasional squeal. To qualify for the diagnosis of hypocarndria the symptoms must have been experienced for at least 6 months, and the condition seems to be more common for owners of Italian, British or German automobiles.
Hypocarndria is often characterized by fears that minor symptoms may indicate a serious mechanical problem, constant examination and diagnosis (sometimes in the middle of the night), and a preoccupation with one’s automobile. Many individuals with hypocarndriasis express doubt and disbelief in the mechanics’ diagnosis, and report that any mechanics’ reassurance about an absence of a serious issue is unconvincing, or short-lasting. Additionally, many hypocarndriacs experience elevated blood pressure, stress, and anxiety in the presence of mechanics or while occupying a automotive shop, a condition known as “blue shirt syndrome”. Many hypocarndriacs require constant reassurance, either from mechanics, family, or friends, and the disorder can become a disabling torment for the individual with hypocarndriasis, as well as his or her family and friends. Some hypocarndriacal individuals completely avoid any reminder of illness, whereas others frequently visit automotive shops, sometimes obsessively. Other victims of this disease will never speak about it.