Somatic Symptom Disorder

Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders: part of this word, Soma, is based on the Greek word for body.  So, somatic would mean a disorder that relates to our body.  Disorders that fall within this category include somatic symptom disorder, illness anxiety disorder, conversion disorder, factitious disorder, other specified somatic symptom and related disorders, and unspecified somatic symptom and related disorders.         

What this list of disorders shares in common is the experiencing of real or perceived physical symptoms resulting from significant distress or impairment. While experiencing the physical symptoms of somatic symptom disorder, patients may also experience abnormal thoughts, emotions, or behaviors in response to their physical distress.  In many instances no medical explanation can be found for the symptoms experienced, but an actual medical diagnosis can accompany somatic symptom disorder.  One can have somatic symptom and related disorders and still be diagnosed with anxiety and depressive disorders.

What causes it?  It may be a combination of factors including your genes and biology, a trauma experience when young, learning from specific experiences, and/or culture.

An interesting characteristic of these disorders is that an individual may believe he or she has some underlying physical/medical cause even when presented with evidence that would prove otherwise.  Regarding treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found effective to help relieve symptoms.


The above summary by WebPsychology.