Somatic symptom disorder (SSD) is a mental disorder in which a person experiences abnormal thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in reaction to physical sensations. The disorder interferes with their daily functioning and life quality.
The symptoms reported by a person with somatic symptom disorder may have no medical explanation or be normal bodily sensations or discomfort. Even when a medical cause is there, the person’s anxiety is disproportionate to the symptom.
Frequently, individuals with somatic symptom problems are unaware of their underlying mental health issues and the treatment is provided at the best psychiatrist hospital.
Signs that are often associated with the somatic symptom disorder:
- Specific sensations, such as pain or shortness of breath, or more general somatoform disorder symptoms, such as exhaustion or weakness, may indicate the presence of a disease.
- Unrelated to any identifiable medical reason, or connected to a medical problem such as cancer or heart disease, but more substantial than predicted.
- One symptom, many symptoms, or diverse symptoms
- Mild, moderate, or severe
Pain is the most prevalent symptom, but regardless of your symptoms, you have excessive thoughts, feelings, or actions associated with them that cause major issues, make it difficult to function, and are occasionally disabling. Various types of somatoform disorders can affect at higher levels.
These ideas, emotions, and actions may include:
- Continual concern about probable disease
- Considering normal bodily sensations to serious physical disease
- Fearing that symptoms are grave despite the absence of proof
- Thinking that physical feelings are dangerous or menacing
- Feeling that medical evaluation and therapy were insufficient
- Concerned that physical activity might harm your body
- Checking your body repeatedly for abnormalities
- Frequent health care visits that fail to alleviate your issues or worsen them.
- Insensitivity to medical treatment or exceptional sensitivity to drug side effects
- Having a greater disability than is typical for a certain medical condition
Somatic symptom disorder vs illness anxiety disorder:
An illness anxiety disorder is a mental disorder in which a person is preoccupied and overly anxious about having or acquiring an illness. Unlike somatic symptom disorder, illness anxiety disorder is typically not accompanied by physical symptoms.
Who gets affected by somatic symptom disorder?
- Somatic symptom disorder can affect children, adolescents, and adults, with an average onset age of 30 years.
- People assigned female at birth (AFAB) are 10 times more likely than those assigned male to have somatic symptom disorder (AMAB).
Is somatic symptom disorder common?
Somatic symptom disorder is rather prevalent, affecting between 5 and 7 percent of the adult population.
What are the major causes of somatic symptom disorder?
It is unclear what causes somatic symptom disorder, although any of the following may have a role:
- Genetic and biological factors include a greater sensitivity to pain
- Family influence could be genetic, environmental, or both
- The personality trait of negativity can influence how you recognize and perceive sickness and bodily symptoms
- Decreased awareness of or problems processing emotions, forcing bodily problems to take precedence over emotional issues.
- Learned behavior, For instance, attention or other benefits acquired from having a disease; or “pain behaviors” in response to symptoms, such as excessive activity avoidance, which might enhance your level of disability.
How is somatic illness diagnosed?
To determine a diagnosis, you will likely undergo a physical examination and any tests recommended by your doctor at the best psychiatrist hospital. Your physician or other health care professional can help you identify if you have any treatable health concerns.
In addition to referring you to a mental health specialist, your medical care provider may also refer you to a therapist.
Discuss your symptoms, anxieties or concerns, stressful situations, interpersonal issues, scenarios you may be avoiding, and family history during a psychological evaluation.
Can somatic symptom disorder be cured?
Managing somatic symptom problems is possible. The best treatment for somatic symptom disorder focuses on assisting the individual with the condition to live as normal a life as possible.
Treatment for somatic symptom disorder:
The purpose of treatment is to alleviate symptoms and restore daily functioning. Psychotherapy, commonly known as talk therapy, can be beneficial in the treatment of somatic symptom disorders. Occasionally, drugs may be added, especially if you struggle with depression.
Because physical symptoms can be associated with psychological distress and a high level of health concern, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help alleviate physical symptoms.
- Examine and adjust your health and physical symptom-related beliefs and expectations
- Discover ways to alleviate stress
- Discover how to manage physical symptoms
- Reduce your focus on symptoms
- Reduce avoidance of situations and activities because of unpleasant bodily sensations.
- Enhance daily functioning at home, in the workplace, and relationships and social settings
- Deal with sadness and other mental illnesses
In addition, family therapy can be beneficial by analyzing family dynamics and enhancing family support and functioning. It is likely that the course of somatic illness is chronic (long-term), with recurrent episodes lasting many months to years.
Untreated somatic syndrome disorder can result in the following:
- Limited ability to perform regular tasks.
- Unemployment or bad performance at work.
- Psychological impairment.
- Decreased life quality.
- Substance and alcohol abuse disorders.
The good news is that most people can see an improvement or remission of symptoms with treatment. Reach out to the best psychiatrist hospital in Coimbatore in case you notice any signs of the condition.