I know a person that I can say: "The flu is going around again" and next day he has the flu, but two days later he out in the woods hunting. If he comes in contact with someone that has heartburn then the next day he has heartburn! I called him on the phone and told him I had a cold, the next day he had the cold... I can go on and on and on...

This has been a fact for many many years. Is there a name for a person like this or is it some type of disease?

  • Hypochondriac. Hypochondria : unusual or excessive concern about your health : a tendency to fear or imagine that you have illnesses that you do not actually have. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypochondria
    – user66974
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 14:50
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    Hysterical contagion occurs when people experience symptoms of a disease from the power of suggestion—in other words, hearing or thinking about the disease makes them worry that they have it, and hysteria causes them to actually feel the symptoms of a disease they don't have.
    – Nicole
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 15:05
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    I think this question is slightly different. A hypochondriac believes themself to be ill, even though they aren't necessarily ill - or tend to think their illness is worse than it is (eg they get a headache and convince themselves it is a brain tumour). This question here, asks about a person who "talks themself into an illness" - ie they actually develop the illness. The term for this, I think, is psychosomatic. Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 23:09
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    Somewhat related is sympathetic illness: if knowing another person is ill causes him to actually feel ill himself. Seen for example in the phrase sympathetic vomiting: he sees or hears someone else vomit, and the disgust makes him vomit too. Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 2:10
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    Munchausen syndrome? webmd.com/mental-health/munchausen-syndrome
    – user662852
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 3:35

2 Answers 2


He could be a hypochondriac. Or you could be suffering from a cognitive bias. Or a combination of both.


Pyschosomatic is the answer they are seeking. Hypochondriac is really reserved for people who are worried about getting sick. That is as opposed to the manifestation of illness from thinking about it. But, yes, hypochondriacs are at great risk for this phenomenon.

Psychosomatic definition

  • Oh, hello. I saw your "suggested" edit (I thought you were unregistered) and reopened the question. I'm pleased to see you answered. This is why you couldn't post an answer, it was closed, no new answers can be posted on closed questions.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:30
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    As for the comment left by a more experienced user than yourself, you radically changed RegDwight's answer. This is not on, and that is why your suggested edit was, rightfully, rejected. Anyway, you answered what you retain is the correct answer. So all's well that ends well. Add a link that explains what "psychosomatic" means–we have many non-native speakers on EL&U– and it's +1 from me.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:37

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