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Somatic Symptoms - When To Consult A Psychiatrist?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Akshata Bhat 94% (2156 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Mumbai  •  8 years experience
Somatic Symptoms - When To Consult A Psychiatrist?

Somatic Symptoms is also known as Somatization Disorder or Somatoform Disorder. It is a type of mental disorder which causes many bodily symptoms. The symptoms may or may not be noticeable for medical treatment. However, they normally cause excessive levels of distress. The symptoms may be related to one or more body organs and body system.

Some of them could be:

  1. Neurologic problems

  2. Pain

  3. Sexual symptoms

  4. Gastrointestinal complaints

In most cases, people experience Anxiety Disorder along with Somatic Symptom Disorder.

Symptoms of Somatic Symptoms Disorder (SSD)

One of the most common symptoms of SSD is pain and fatigue. However, there are other symptoms as well that exist like excessive behavioral and emotional changes, which cause chronic mental issues. Apart from pain and fatigue, people with SSD often feel excessive thoughts, like:

  1. They constantly worry about illness

  2. They view normal physical sensation as a symptom of some serious disease

  3. They have a feeling that treatment and medication is not adequate

  4. They think that normal sensations are harmful and threatening

  5. They think that physical activities may damage the body

  6. They keep checking their body abnormalities often

  7. They are sensitive to medication and unresponsive to any treatment

Causes of Somatic Symptom Disorder

The reason behind Somatic symptom disorder is still not clear. However, over the years, researchers have come to identify some causes that might lead to Somatic Symptoms Disorder. They are as follows:

  1. Biological and genetic traits might cause this

  2. Too much negativity in one’s personality

  3. Paying more attention towards pain and be regularly concerned about it

  4. Some past Trauma or stressful event can also have a negative effect

  5. Severe Anxiety

Treatment of Somatic Symptoms Disorder

The treatment of somatic symptom disorder involves therapy, medication, or a combination of both, depending upon the condition of this disorder.

Medication:

One of the common medicines used to cure this disease is antidepressant. These help in reducing anxiety and stress. They work best with a combination of some physical exercise and healthy diet. However, one needs to consult a doctor before taking these medicines, as they may have side effects. Also, medication alone might not do any good and it is better if it is accompanied by a Psychotherapy as well.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy. It is one of the most effective way to cure and reduce anxiety. Usually doctors advise this therapy for patients which are in beginning stages of SSD. Such a therapy is aimed at identifying the root cause of SSD and then addressing those. A lot of times, a psychologist might find that there could be a past event that might cause constant negative thoughts, that leads to SSD. In such cases, the expert will work on getting over those negative thoughts. In some cases, the expert might also choose to prescribe medication, especially in the extreme cases, so as to instantly bring down the stress and depression levels.

Conclusion:

Somatic Symptoms Disorder is a worrying condition. This can cause both an emotional as well as physical problems. If someone sees symptoms that might indicate the presence of Somatic Symptoms, then he / she should immediately consult an experienced medical professional. An expert will be able to evaluate the exact condition and then devise the plan of action based on that.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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