Somatic Symptom Disorder, previously known as Somatization, is a condition which causes one to unconsciously develop physical symptoms due to psychological distress, sometimes related to an existing physical condition.
Typically, the symptoms cannot be explained by another physical or mental condition. In other words, there is no identifiable cause for the symptoms. However, the symptoms are real, not imagined.
Somatic Symptom Disorder is considered a form of mental illness, even though the symptoms are real.
Pain is one of the more common symptoms and naturally should be taken seriously in order to rule out other medical conditions. Always consult with a doctor when any new symptoms arise.
New manifestations of symptoms are sometimes related to fear – fear that one has a new condition or fear that a condition is getting worse.
As you might assume, this can be a debilitating condition that keeps patients isolated due to perceived or actual physical manifestations.
Somatization related to a physical condition
For instance, a person with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may become stressed about having flare-ups in a particular situation, such as work or while out shopping. This added stress can exacerbate the condition and cause stomach pain, which leads to an actual flare-up.
Somatization not related to a physical condition
A person who has fainting spells or extreme pain not related to a physical condition. These are usually caused by health anxiety. Perhaps this person has had a previous health condition and is overly anxious about a recurrence.
Somatization or Hypochondria
Somatic Symptom Disorder is not the same as Hypochondria. A Hypochondriac has extreme anxiety regarding their health, just as those with Somatic Symptom Disorder. The difference is that there is usually no cause for alarm. Hypochondria consists of extreme stress and anxiety over imaginary physical developments, not actual symptoms.
This person may spend unusual amounts of time inspecting their own body; attempting to self-diagnose by doing their own research, calling someone for advice, or visiting their doctor or clinic.
Video from Osmosis.org
What is somatic symptom disorder? Somatic symptom disorder, sometimes called somatoform disorder, is defined as having unexplainable physical symptoms, which often lead to cognitive symptoms.