Somatoform disorders are physical ailments (such as pain, nausea, depression, dizziness) or concerns for which no adequate medical explanation has been found. Somatoform disorders are physical symptoms that seem as if they are part of a general medical condition. However, no general medical condition, other mental disorder, or substance is present. The complaints are serious enough to cause significant emotional distress and impairment of social and/or occupational functioning.
A long-term relationship with a trusted primary care practitioner (PCP) is a safeguard against unnecessary treatments as well as a comfort to the patient. Many PCPs prefer to schedule brief appointments on a regular basis with the patient and keep referrals to specialists to a minimum. Patients with somatoform disorders are not considered good candidates for psychoanalysis and other forms of insight-oriented psychotherapy. Hypnosis is a technique that is sometimes used as part of a general psychotherapeutic approach to conversion disorder
What is the cause of somatoform disorder?
No one knows exactly why symptoms of somatoform disorder start. In some cases, there may be a problem with the nerve impulses that send signals of pain, pressure and other unpleasant sensations to the brain. We do know that the pain and problems caused by somatoform disorder are real.
Like many medical problems, somatoform disorder often runs in families. It tends to come and go over time.
Signs and Symptoms of Somatoform Disorder
Common Sign and Symptoms of Somatoform Disorder
Alternative treatment For Somatoform Disorder
Patients with somatization disorder or pain disorder may be helped by a variety of alternative therapies including acupuncture, hydrotherapy, therapeutic massage, meditation, botanical medicine, and homeopathic treatment. Relief of symptoms, including pain, can occur on the physical level, as well as on the mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.
Common Treatment of Somatoform Disorder
Patients with somatoform disorders are sometimes given antianxiety drugs or antidepressant drugs
Body dysmorphic disorder as been successfully treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants.
Some patients with pain disorder benefit from group therapy or support groups, particularly if their social network has been limited by their pain symptoms.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also used sometimes to treat pain disorder.
Family therapy is usually recommended for children or adolescents with somatoform disorders.
Hypnosis is a technique that is sometimes used as part of a general psychotherapeutic approach to conversion disorder.