What is it?

Somatic symptom disorder is characterized by an extreme focus on physical symptoms- such as pain or fatigue- that causes major emotional distress and problems functioning. You may or may not have another diagnosed medical condition associated with these symptoms, but your reaction to the symptoms is not normal.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Somatic symptom disorder

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of somatic symptom disorder may be:
* Specific sensations, such as pain or shortness of breath, or more general symptoms, such as fatigue or weakness
* Unrelated to any medical cause that can be identified, or related to a medical condition such as cancer or heart disease, but more significant than what's usually expected
* A single symptom, multiple symptoms or varying symptoms
*Mild, moderate or severe
pain is the most common symptom, but whatever your symptoms, you have excessive thoughts, feelings or behaviors related to those symptoms, which cause significant problems, make it difficult to function and sometimes can be disabling.

Diagnosis

To determine a diagnosis, you'll likely have a physical exam and any tests your doctor recommends. Your doctor or other health care provider can help determine if you have any health conditions that need treatment.
Your medical care provider may also refer you to a mental health professional, who may:
* Conduct a psychological evaluation to talk about your symptoms, fears or concerns, stressful situations, relationship problems, situations you may be avoiding, and family history
* Have you fill out a psychological self-assessment or questionnaire
* Ask you about alcohol, drug or other substance use

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to improve your symptoms and your ability to function in daily life. Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, can be helpful for somatic symptom disorder. Sometimes medications may be added, especially if you're struggling with feeling depressed.

Psychotherapy
Because physical symptoms can be related to psychological distress and a high level of health anxiety, psychotherapy - specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) - can help improve physical symptoms.

Medications
Antidepressant medication can help reduce symptoms associated with depression and pain that often occur with somatic symptom disorder.
If one medication doesn't work well for you, your doctor may recommend switching to another or combining certain medications to boost effectiveness. Keep in mind that it can take several weeks after first starting a medication to notice an improvement in symptoms.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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