Somatoform Symptom Disorder

Somatoform Symptom Disorder (SSD) is a mental disorder that occurs when an individual feels extremely exaggerated anxiety about physical symptoms – to a point where they feel they cannot perform some normal activities in their daily life.

The Real Problem

A person with SSD believes their medical problems are life threatening. To them, the pain and discomfort are real, not at all fake or imaginary. Usually no physical cause can be found. It is not the physical problem but more about the reaction, perception and behaviors about the symptoms that are the real problem. 

Similar to Hypochondria

Somatoform Symptom Disorder is similar to Illness Anxiety Disorder (formerly known as Hypochondria) where there are no actual physical symptoms. With SSD various levels of distress or pain exist, which significantly affect daily activities. In many cases, extensive diagnostic tests need to be performed to rule out any possible causes before diagnosing Somatoform Symptom Disorder.

Women More Affected

SSD occurs in nearly 10 percent of the adult population with women affected ten times more than men. The reason may be linked to childhood abuse or trauma in which women are exposed more often than men. People with SSD often have anxiety and depression as well as a history of substance or alcohol abuse and a chaotic lifestyle. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can improve this disorder as well as antidepressant medication.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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