Somatic Symptom Disorder: Definition, Causes, And Symptoms

Somatic Symptom Disorder Symptoms

Did you know that about 5% to 7% of the adult population suffers somatic symptom disorder?  It was previously known as somatoform disorder and somatization disorder.

The doctors around you may think your symptoms are not real for a disorder. This might cause significant emotional stress. But first, make yourself clear whether you or anyone around you is actually suffering from it or not. Keep reading to know everything about somatic symptom disorder.

Somatic symptom disorder: what is it?

A person with Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD) experiences abnormal thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in response to physical symptoms such as pain, fatigue, etc. Their daily functioning and quality of life are both affected by the disorder.

Even though a person with somatic symptom disorder reports symptoms, those symptoms may simply be normal bodily discomfort or sensations for which there is no known medical cause. The person’s worry is excessive compared to the symptoms they have.

People who suffer from this disorder frequently don’t realize that they have a severe mental health issue and mistakenly think they are physically ill. Due to their symptoms, they often visit numerous healthcare professionals and undergo unnecessary tests and procedures.

Read More: Is Overthinking a Mental Disorder?

Somatic Symptom Disorder: Signs and Symptoms

People with SSD may experience the following physical symptoms:

  • Pain (the most commonly reported symptom).
  • Weakness or drowsiness.
  • Breathing difficulty (dyspnea).

The primary indicators of somatic symptom disorder are how people feel, think, and act in response to these physical symptoms. People who suffer from SSD may:

  • Feel unnecessary anxiety about their physical symptoms.
  • Feel concerned that mild physical symptoms are signs of severe conditions.
  • See their healthcare provider for numerous diagnostic tests and exams but refuse to believe the results.
  • Feel that their healthcare provider doesn’t take their physical symptoms quite seriously.
  • Go from one healthcare professional to another or seek remedy from numerous providers simultaneously.
  • Spend a lot of time and energy dealing with health concerns.
  • Become dependent on others, need help and emotional support, and become angry when they feel their needs aren’t met.
  • Have trouble functioning daily because of thoughts and behaviors around their physical symptoms.

Also, anxiety and/or depression are present in approximately 30-60 percent of people with somatic symptom disorder.

Read More: Is There Any Difference between Schizoaffective Disorder and Schizophrenia?

Somatic Symptom Disorders: How Does it Occur

Many biological, environmental, and psychological factors are thought to play a role in developing SSD. They might include the following:

  • Sexual and physical abuse as children.
  • Lack of emotional awareness or emotional growth during childhood. 
  • Neglection by parents or a lack of emotional intimacy. 
  • Excessive anxiety, focus on physiological functions, and suspicion of illness.


Having somatic symptom disorder can feel overwhelming, but you can improve your quality of life with the right mental health therapist and, in some cases, the appropriate medication dose. 

Although you may never ultimately be free of your symptoms, you can learn how to manage them effectively so they don’t interfere with your daily life.

Now that you know about somatic symptom disorders let’s discover other unusual psychological disorders you probably don’t know about here.

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