Hypochondria: Somatic Symptom Disorder

Alice Cordero

A condition once called Hypochondria now falls under the name Somatic Symptom Disorder. Somatic Symptom Disorder is characterized as extreme focus on physical symptoms. When one places extreme focus on physical symptoms – such as fatigue and pain- the individual usually experiences emotional distress and problems functioning in their daily lives.

Those diagnosed with somatic symptom or hypochondriasis disorder often consider the worst case scenarios about their symptoms, which often leads the individual to frequently seek medical care. The individual’s health concerns become such a crucial focus in their life that they in fact become disabled.

Symptoms of somatic symptom disorder may include:

  • Sensations in a specific area ( whether that be shortness of breath or pain) or more general sensations, like weakness and fatigue
  • Excessive thoughts, feelings, behaviors and worrying
  • Checking the body repeatedly for any sort of abnormalities

When one is diagnosed with somatic symptom disorder it is important to keep a positive outlook, because stress and negativity pave the way for the development of symptoms. Those with a history of substance abuse and high levels of sensitivity to pain are commonly seen with this condition.  Anxiety, depression, and OCD are conditions that are often diagnosed as accompanying somatic symptom disorder.

For somatic symptom disorder treatment normally involves cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness- based therapy, and medication such as antidepressants. With the proper treatment research has revealed that recovery is possible using the proper strategies to eliminate as much pain as possible.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from Somatic Symptom Disorder (Hypochondriasis), the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit us at http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

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