Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD) includes the diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder, illness anxiety disorder, conversion disorder (functional neurological symptom disorder), psychological factors affecting other medical conditions, factitious disorder and other related disorders. It is important to note that some other mental disorders may initially manifest with primarily somatic symptoms (e.g., major depressive disorder, panic disorder). Such diagnoses may account for the somatic symptoms, or they may occur alongside one of the somatic symptoms and related disorders. (adapted from APA, 2013).
Somatic symptom disorder (SSD) is characterized by an extreme focus on physical symptoms — such as pain or fatigue — that causes major emotional distress and problems functioning. The patient may or may not have another diagnosed medical condition associated with these symptoms, but the person’s reaction to the symptoms is excessive. People diagnosed with IAD strongly believe they have a serious or life-threatening illness despite having no, or only mild, symptoms. Yet IAD patients’ concerns are to them very real. Even if they go to doctors and no illnesses are found, they are generally not reassured, or they only do it for a short time, and their obsessive worry continues. IAD can also trigger worries in people who do have a physical illness that they are sicker than they really are. The disorder is not about the presence or absence of illness, but the psychological reaction (adapted from Mayo and Cleveland Clinics).
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the best established treatment for a variety of somatoform disorders, with some benefit also demonstrated for a consultation letter to the primary care physician ( Kroenke, K., 2007).
Psious’ “Somatic and Related” therapeutic area tools were grouped to help therapists on somatic symptoms assessment and treatment, especially for somatic symptoms and illness anxiety disorders. These tools can help for somatic symptomatology treatment using CBT evidence-based techniques: exposure and response prevention (Hedman, E., et al 2016 ), relaxation training and cognitive–behavioral therapy (Bauer, M.,et al 2014), Mindfulness (Fjorback, L. O.,et al 2013, Hedman, E., et al 2016 ).