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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is somatic symptom disorder?
Somatic symptom disorder is a condition in which a person experiences persistent and distressing physical symptoms that cannot be easily explained by another medical condition. People with somatic symptom disorder are generally highly concerned and anxious …
What are the symptoms of somatic symptom disorder?
A very wide range of symptoms can occur in somatic symptom disorder. Pain, digestive problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, muscle weakness or paralysis, palpitations and shortness of breath are some of the more common examples.
What causes somatic symptom disorder?
The cause of somatic symptom disorder is not well understood. It may be that people with somatic symptom disorder experience pain or symptoms in a heightened way. Worry and concern about the symptoms may make this worse.
Who gets somatic symptom disorder?
Anyone can get somatic symptoms disorder. However, it is more common in women. The disorder usually appears before the age of 30.
How is somatic symptom disorder diagnosed?
As part of the diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder, it is important that other potential causes of symptoms are ruled out. If this is the case, and the symptoms are persistent and distressing, a diagnosis may be made. A referral for psychiatric …
Is somatic symptom disorder serious?
Somatic symptom disorder can have a very serious impact on quality of life. People with the disorder are often also affected by mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. It is important that the disorder is managed appropriately.
What increases the chances of developing somatic symptom disorder?
Some chronic illnesses such as chronic pain and irritable bowel syndrome are associated with increased rates of somatic symptom disorder. A history of stressful or traumatic experiences, such as physical or sexual abuse, …
How common is somatic symptom disorder?
It's not known how common somatic symptom disorder is in the community, but estimates suggest that around 5-7% of adults may be affected.
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 17 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Votes: 268 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Somatic symptom disorder