What is Somatoform Disorder?
A somatoform disorder is a mental illness that causes a number of bodily symptoms which also includes pain. The reason for this might not be traceable to some kind of a physical cause even including general medical conditions. This condition causes major problems in functioning and even high levels of emotional distress.
Depending on where the individual faces discomfort and pain, this condition is often divided into types of somatoform disorder that doctor have identified:
- Pain disorder
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Conversion disorder
- Undifferentiated somatoform disorder
Somatoform disorder Symptoms
There are quite a number of Somatoform disorder symptoms that there is to know about. Pain is the most common one faced by an individual. However, despite that, there are some other common ones which we have listed below for your reference and knowledge:
- Feeling of fatigue and weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Constant worrying about a potential illness
- Having a very severe impairment that is usually known to be expected from a medical condition
- Being unusually sensitive to side effects of medicine
- A fear that physical activity may cause some sort of damage to the body
- Severe physical illness without reason
These are some of the reasons for Somatoform disorder that doctors have been able to identify.
Who is at Risk?
There are various Somatoform disorder risk factors as it can happen to anyone due to multiple reasons. Some individuals are more sensitive to this condition as compared to others. However, experts have been able to identify certain risk factors related to this. We have mentioned them below for your reference and understanding of the same:
- An individual who is suffering from depression or anxiety
- Someone who has a medical condition or is recovering from one
- An individual who has experienced trauma, stressful life events and even violence at some point
- Having a lower level of education
Somatoform disorder Causes
The exact Somatoform disorder causes have not been identified by researchers till now. However, there are certain causes which are believed to contribute to this. We have discussed below for your understanding some of these causes across the types in details:
- Having biological and genetic factors which leads to an increased sensitivity towards pain
- Having a negative personality trait which has an impact on how an individual perceives and identifies illness and certain bodily symptoms
- Having decreased awareness of how to process certain emotions.
These are some common causes that are known to possibly cause this condition.
How is Somatoform disorder diagnosed?
For Somatoform disorder diagnosis, a Somatoform disorder doctor will need to perform a certain number of tests for this condition as there is no one common test to understand the root cause of the problem. As mentioned, the doctor may then have to conduct multiple tests to get a proper understanding of the problem:
- The doctor will first start with a physical test and get a thorough understanding of your medical history including that of your family members.
- The doctor may also conduct a psychological evaluation to have a better understanding of your symptoms, concerns, fears, relationship problems, stressful situations, family history and if there are any situations that you may be avoiding as well.
How is Somatoform disorder Treated?
There are different methods for Somatoform disorder treatment. The treatment is done with the aim of improving the symptoms and helping the individual lead a better quality of daily life. We have mentioned in brief the process of treatment:
- The doctor will recommend psychotherapy to help fight against various symptoms such as reducing stress and better coping mechanisms.
- If needed then the Doctor may prescribe some medicine for somatoform disorder.
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How can Somatoform disorder be prevented?
Prevention of Somatoform disorder is one area of which there is very little known about. Researchers are still not sure if there is one formula which will help to prevent this condition. However, having said that, there are some recommendations which might help an individual. Some of these have been mentioned below for your understanding and consideration:
- If you are suffering from any sort of depression or anxiety, then ensure that you reach out to a medical professional
- Be aware of what stresses you and try to rectify it