Symptoms And Identification In Somatic Symptom Disorder

Symptoms And Identification In Somatic Symptom Disorder

Many people think that pain is the result of external or internal injuries.  But, there are some conditions when this pain can’t be treated physically, or even if you consult a physician no diagnosis could detect injuries on you.

Somatic Symptom Disorder

Somatic symptom disorder affects your emotional or mental state, and you start to feel several medical conditions at a time and make you think that you are seriously affected by a terrible health condition. Pain is not only the case, you might have experienced multiple medical conditions. But still, any diagnoses or treatments couldn’t cure them. 

Somatic Symptom Disorder

Somatic symptom disorder is the disorder when a patient becomes overly worried about his health condition like pain, shortness of breath. But eventually, it results in an unstable mental condition of over distress and abnormal thoughts.

Even if the patient consults a physician, the test results might not show the same. The tests can’t detect any injuries or other physical health problems in the patient’s body. Somatic symptom disorder should be considered as a disorder rather than a disease. 

People with the disorder might consult several doctors and after thorough and excessive checkups, the result will be nothing. This is because of the fact that the disorder is not caused by physical injuries.

Symptoms And Identification

Pain is the most common symptom. Other symptoms might include weakness, shortness of breath, etc. Regardless of these general symptoms, you might feel overly concerned about your health or always be worried or thoughtful about the symptoms you feel.

  • Pain: Pain is the most commonly noticed symptom among patients. It can be mild, moderate, or even severe according to the severity of the symptom. People usually feel pain in abdomen, legs, chest, joints, arms, etc
  • Other symptoms include painful periods, headache, dizziness, fainting, constipation, diarrhoea, etc.
  • Anxiety and depression may also present in some people

Somatic symptom disorder usually occurs in adults, especially 10 times more in women than men. Somatic symptom disorder occurs among 5-7% of the total adult population. The disorder can have symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

The patients might feel unsatisfied with the treatments and will be in an urge of consulting multiple hospitals in a worry of finding a remedy.  Most people might feel the disorder as a potential threat or something that is very serious and might harm them.

What Causes Somatic Symptom Disorder?

Though the exact cause is not clear, it can be the result of some genetic or biological factors, negative personality traits,  some sort of learned behavior, family influence, etc.

  • Childhood physical or sexual abuse can also result in somatic symptom disorder. Since women are more prone to such conditions, it is more likely to affect women than men.
  • Childhood parental neglect, poor emotional development, and other environmental or genetic family influence.

Though these are some of the main causes of somatic symptom disorder. There is a chance of developing the disorder if you have a history of

  • Chronic illness during your childhood
  • Over attention to bodily sensations
  • Trauma
  • Alcohol abuse 
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Anxiety or depression

The disorder can be diagnosed by examining some points of your condition.

  • Frequent or excessive feeling of pain, headaches, or other medical conditions. You are very concerned about the situation and excessively experiencing the same condition or multiple medical conditions at a time, that disrupts your daily life.
  • One or more symptoms persist for about more than 6 months.

Experiencing severe or less severe medical conditions for a long time will make you overly concerned about your health. You might urge for a remedy and visit multiple health centers in search of a cure. If you are diagnosed with the condition, you are recommended to see a mental health specialist.

When To Consult A Doctor?

Physical symptoms like pain can also be due to some medical conditions. So In order to diagnose the true cause, it is requested to see a physician. If the diagnosis shows no change in physical causes and your physician believes that you may have a somatic symptom disorder. Then your physician will recommend consulting a mental health professional.


Treatment for Somatic symptom disorder mainly includes methods to control the symptoms in order to help the patient to live a normal life as much as possible.

Psychotherapy is also recommended, since it can help the patients to change and bring a progression in the way they think and behave, making them more adapted to cope with conditions like anxiety.

Anti-depressants can be used if the person is experiencing excessive anxiety. It will help to improve the mood of the Individual.


Though pains commonly can be the result of injuries, somatic pain is described as a mental health problem.

Individuals with somatic symptom disorder are over-stressed or worried about their health condition, and they consult multiple hospitals out of fear.

Proper mental health treatment such as consulting a psychotherapist or doing meditation can decrease the severity of the condition. Childhood traumas, physical, mental, or sexual abuses can be a cause of the origin of the disorder. The Individual can also be affected genetically.

There are many medical professionals who are experts in this field and definitely help you to improve your condition to live a better normal life.


Can Somatic symptom disorder be cured?

The disorder has no specific cure, but it can be treated and managed. The treatment will help the individual to improve their condition and help them to live a normal life as much as possible.

Does childhood trauma affect the development of disease?

Childhood trauma and another childhood physical, mental and sexual abuses can also be the reason for the development of the disorder.

Helping the individual to cope with the anxiety due to traumas will definitely help the individual to return to normal life as possible.

Why are women more prone to the disorder?

Women are likely to be affected  10 times more than men. Because they are more exposed to childhood abuse than men.

PainPathways Magazine

PainPathways Magazine

PainPathways is the first, only and ultimate pain magazine. First published in spring 2008, PainPathways is the culmination of the vision of Richard L. Rauck, MD, to provide a shared resource for people living with and caring for others in pain. This quarterly resource not only provides in-depth information on current treatments, therapies and research studies but also connects people who live with pain, both personally and professionally.

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