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Flashcards in Somatic Symptom Disorders Deck (11)
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Somatic symptom disorders

Experience of significant physical symptoms for which there is no apparent medical (organic) cause


Criteria of somatic symptom disorder

- Experience of 1 or more somatic symptoms causing significant distress or impairment
- Excessive worry or time and energy
- Symptoms may change, but having symptoms is constant
- May include pain or other physical issues (doesn't have to be pain related)


Specific disorders

- Somatic Symptom Disorder
- Illness Anxiety Disorder
- Conversion Disorder
- Factitious Disorder


Illness anxiety disorder (hypochondriasis)

- Worries about having a serious illness
- Somatic symptoms need not be present, but if so, mild and lead to worry and care-seeking
- Health related behaviours or avoidance


Theories of somatic symptom disorder/illness anxiety disorder

Cognitive factors play a strong role:
- Dysfunctional beliefs about illnesses (e.g. certain kinds of parental neglect -> view in children that they only get attention when sick)
- Pay too much attention to physical changes and catastrophize symptoms
Post-traumatic stress disorder places people at risk for developing one of these disorders


Treatment of Somatic Symptom Disorder and Illness
Anxiety Disorder

- Psychodynamic therapies: Provide insight into the connection between emotional and physical symptoms
- Behavioural therapies: Reward healthy behaviors and remove rewards related to symptoms
- Cognitive therapies: Challenge catastrophizing and learn to interpret physical symptoms appropriately (more positive effects than psychodynamic)
- Antidepressants: Do reduce somatic complaints


Conversion disorder

- Neurologic issues in a sensory or motor modality without a physical cause
- E.g., Glove anesthesia (a mental disorder involving loss of sensitivity in the hand and wrist)


Factitious disorder

- Deliberate faking to gain attention
- Can be imposed on another


Freudian theory of conversion disorder

- Psychic energy from repressed emotions is transferred to a part of the body
- Primary gain – physical symptoms allow person to avoid anxiety
- Secondary gain – attention from others, relieved of obligations


Behavioral theory of conversion disorder

- Alleviates stress by removing individual from the environment
- La belle indifference (lack of concern towards their "disability")


Neurological theory of conversion disorder

- Sensory motor areas in the brain impaired by anxiety
- Impaired connectivity with areas regulating anxiety