People who have this disorder may have several medical evaluations and tests to be sure that they do not have another illness. They often become very worried about their health because they don’t know what is causing their health problems. Sometimes it can be difficult for individuals with somatic symptom disorder to understand that their concerns about their symptoms are excessive.
Health concerns may become so extreme that they are a central feature of your identity and dominate your relationships with other people. Whether or not the physical complaints can be medically explained, the suffering is real and interferes with daily life.
Who gets it?
Over the years, researchers have identified some possible risk factors that might increase your risk of having somatic symptom disorder.
- A new diagnosis or recovering from a medical condition.
- Being at a high risk of developing a serious medical condition.
- Previous traumatic experiences.
Treatment of somatic symptom disorder is multifaceted and should be tailored to your individual needs. It is important to establish a strong relationship with your psychiatrist as legitimizing your symptoms is an important aspect of your treatment.
Effective treatment options may include medication, cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness-based therapy. Somatic symptom disorder is generally a chronic condition, but research has shown that people can recover and learn strategies to minimize the associated distress.