Somatic symptom disorder – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

Somatic symptom disorder, which used to be
called somatization or somatoform disorder, involves having physical symptoms that aren’t
explained by any known physical or mental disorder – in other words, symptoms that can’t
be explained. That said, individuals aren’t ‘faking’
the symptoms, these symptoms are real and often made worse by the fact that they cannot
be scientifically explained. And this is pretty different from situations
where an individual with a factitious disorder might fake an illness or injury in order to
get attention. The diagnosis requires that individuals experience
some set of unexplained physical, or somatic, symptoms for at least 6 months. The symptoms experienced by individuals with
this disorder, though, can be incredibly varied, everything from pain to gastrointestinal problems
to sexual symptoms. And although the somatic symptoms are chronic,
the exact location, kind, and severity of the symptoms typically changes over time. The one symptom that does often persist over
time is pain, and because it’s persistent and has no clear underlying cause, it can
be particularly hard to treat. Somatic symptom disorder often causes cognitive
symptoms as well, and these include persistent thoughts and feelings about their symptoms—usually
a lot of worry and anxiety, and sometimes even catastrophic thoughts about death. More often than not, it is these cognitive
symptoms in response to the physical symptoms, more than the physical symptoms themselves,
that become a basis for this diagnosis. In fact, clinicians rate the severity of somatic
symptom disorder based on patient experience with these cognitive symptoms, not the physical
ones. The condition is considered mild if there’s
only one cognitive symptom like ruminating a lot on the symptoms. It would be considered moderate if there are
two or more cognitive symptoms like rumination as well as anxiety. And it would be considered severe if there
are two or more cognitive symptoms, as well as multiple physical symptoms or one severe
symptom, like severe pain. These cognitive and physical symptoms often
disrupt an individual’s daily life as well as their relationships. Unfortunately, the diagnosis can be tricky
and confusing given that the symptoms shift over time and that there is no clear underlying
scientific explanation. Historically, it was thought that somatic
symptom disorder was the result of a person having too much psychological stress, and
that “excess stress” bubbled over and led to bodily symptoms. A current theory is that individuals with
this disorder are extremely sensitive to changes in their bodies and that common experiences
like indigestion might be amplified in these individuals. One everyday example of this would be how
different individuals might perceive the same amount of spiciness very differently, for
some it’s tasty and for other people the exact same amount of spice is perceived as
pain. Now, treatment of somatic symptom disorder
is aimed at diminishing the cognitive symptoms, and this is often done through cognitive-behavioral
therapy. The goal here is to encourage individuals
to engage in behaviors that they think are limited because of their physical symptoms,
in order to show them what they are able to do. All right, as a quick recap: somatic symptom
disorder involves physical symptoms that cannot be scientifically explained by any known physical
or mental disorder, and the most common one is pain, and these physical symptoms often
lead to cognitive symptoms like rumination and anxiety Hey guys, just wanted to give a big special thanks and shoutout to Nurse Nacole for helping with this video, if you haven’t yet definitely check out her Channel otherwise as always subscribe to our channel you can help also sports on patreon and tell your friends about some social media guys like