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What is Psychosomatic Disorder?

Psychosomatic Disorder or somatization disorder is also known as somatic syndrome disorder and is a psychiatric or a mental illness where a patient’s symptoms can not be fully explained by an underlying medical condition or any substance use.

Also Read: What are the Common Types of Psychosomatic Disorders?

What are the causes and risk factors for Somatization Disorder?

As such there are no causes of somatization disorder. The risk factors are listed below

What are the symptoms of Psychosomatic Disorder?

The symptoms of this disorder are not confined to a particular system of the body. There are multiple complaints and the onset of this disorder is before the age of 30 years. The symptoms are:

  • Pain in multiple regions like head, abdomen, joints, chest, during sexual intercourse, during urination.
  • Gastrointestinal complaints except pain – vomiting, nausea, constipation, loose stools, intolerance to some food items.
  • Sexual problems like reduced sexual desire, pain, etc.
  • Fainting, numbing or loss of feeling in one limb, blindness, double vision, difficulty in swallowing, etc.

What are the investigations for Psychosomatic Disorder?

Multiple unrelated symptoms as well as onset of symptoms before 30 years of age can give a hint of somatization disorder. In such a patient , medical tests do not yield any result as it is a psychiatric condition. However, a doctor may advise the appropriate medical tests if any underlying medical illness is suspected. If all the medical diagnoses have been eliminated and the test results are negative, a psychiatric basis can be suspected. In such a case, patient should be referred to a psychiatrist for further consultation. Somatization disorder has a specific diagnostic criteria , and if the patient meets it, he/ she is treated accordingly. Sometimes there is associated depression and anxiety seen in patients.

Also Read: Do Support Groups Help Older Adults with Depression and Anxiety?

What is the treatment of somtization disorder?

Behavioural therapies are available which can help the patient like support groups, etc. Psychiatric counseling is also one of the treatment modalities. It is important for the doctor to establish a strong doctor-patient relationship to effectively counsel the patient. In severe cases, antidepressant medication can also be prescribed.

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