Somatic Symptom Disorder
When an individual feels extra anxiety about his physical symptoms like fatigue or pain, it is known as somatic symptom disorder (SSD). The individual will have intense feelings, thoughts and behaviors relating to the symptoms which interfere with their daily routine.
Many times, no physical cause can be attributed to their malady. Individuals suffering from somatic symptom disorder face problems mainly with their extreme behavior and reaction.
Somatic symptom disorder is now an umbrella term as per DSM-5, it includes somatoform and other related disorders like hysteria.
Individuals with somatic symptom disorder (SSD) may be linked with a lot of stigmas there is a possibility that the physician may dismiss the individual’s issues as a figment of their imagination. Generally, somatic symptom disorder (SSD) is reported before the age of 30 and more often in females than in males.
Causes of Somatic Symptom Disorder
The precise cause of somatic symptom disorder is not known. However, the role of the following factors is plausible:
- Possessing a negative outlook
- Learned behavior
Diagnosis of Somatic Symptom Disorder
A physical exam will be performed by your doctor who will suggest some relevant tests to check for physical causes of your symptoms. Tests will depend on the symptoms one presents with.
One may be referred to a mental doctor for further evaluation. A psychological examination will be done to extract out any related disorders.
Counseling can help individuals who are prone to somatic symptom disorder (SSD) in learning ways to deal with their stress. Counseling can assist them in bringing down the intensity of symptoms.
Symptoms of Somatic Symptom Disorder
The symptoms can include:
- Palpitations, shortness of breath and chest pain
- Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and bloating
- Back pain, joint pain, pain in the arms or legs
- Feel extremely anxious about their symptoms
- Assume milder symptoms to be serious conditions
- Goes for multiple tests and doesn’t believe the results
- Feel their doctor has not taken them seriously
- Seeking high-level medical care
- Doctor shopping (visiting multiple doctors) for the same symptoms
- Spend a lot of time brooding over health concerns
- Normal function is affected because of their behavior, feeling, thoughts about their symptoms
Treatment for Somatic Symptom Disorder
Individuals seeking treatment for somatic symptom disorder (SSD) must have a supportive relationship with their physician.
Ideally, there must be a single primary health care provider to avoid repeated tests and procedures. Visits to a therapist (mental health care provider) also may be required.
Based on cognitive behavioral therapy, newer approaches have been found to bring down the frequency and intensity of the somatic symptom disorder (SSD). Such sessions incorporate general advice on problem-solving, managing stress and social skills training, etc.
Certain psychiatric disorders relating to somatic symptom disorder (SSD), particularly depression and anxiety respond well to antidepressants.