Somatic Disorders

 

Learn more about the symptoms of Somatic Symptom Disorder, Illness Anxiety Disorder (previously known as Hypochondriasis), Conversion Disorder, and Factitious Disorders (previously known as Munchausen Syndrome).  The most common treatment for somatic disorders is psychotherapy.


Somatic Symptom Disorder

  • One or more somatic symptoms (perceived bodily symptoms) that are distressing or significantly disrupt daily life.
  • Excessive thoughts, feelings or behaviors related to the somatic symptoms or associated health concerns as evidenced by at least one of the following:
    • High levels of anxiety about health or symptoms.
    • Excessive time and energy devoted to these symptoms or health concerns.
    • Exaggerated thoughts about the seriousness of one’s symptoms.
  • Having persistent symptoms lasting typically more than six months (more than one somatic symptoms may be present).

Illness Anxiety Disorder

  • Constant worry about having or acquiring a serious illness.
  • Somatic symptoms are mild or not present.
  • High level of anxiety about health and the individual is easily frightened about personal health status.
  • The individual performs excessive health-related behaviors (such as repeatedly checking his or her body for signs of illness) or exhibits maladaptive avoidance (such as avoiding doctor appointments).
  • The worry about being ill is present for at least six months.
  • These symptoms cannot be attributed to any other substance, medication, or other medical or mental condition.

Conversion Disorder (Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder)

  • One or more symptoms of altered voluntary motor (some examples include weakness, paralysis, abnormal movements, swallowing symptoms, speech symptoms, or seizures) or sensory function (such as loss of sensory feelings, changes in sight, smell or hearing).
  • The clinical symptoms are not consistent with a recognized neurological or medical condition.
  • The symptoms are not better explained by another medical or mental disorder.
  • The symptoms cause significant distress or impairment in social, work or other areas of functioning, or warrant medical evaluation.

Psychological Factors Affecting Other Medical Conditions

  • A medical symptom or condition is present. 
  • Psychological or behavioral factors negatively affect the medical condition in one of the following ways:
    • The factors have influenced the course of the medical condition, such as the development or exacerbation of, or delayed recovery from, the medical condition.
    • The factors interfere with the treatment of the medical conditions, such as poor adherence.
    • The factors constitute additional health risks for the individual.
    • The factors influence the underlying disease, precipitating or exacerbating symptoms, or necessitating medical attention.
  • The psychological and behavioral factors are not better explained by another mental disorder.

Factitious Disorders

Factitious Disorder Imposed on Self

  • Making up false physical or psychological signs or symptoms, or causing injury or disease, with the intent to deceive others.
  • The individual presents himself or herself to others as ill, injured or impaired.
  • The deceptive behavior is evident even when external rewards are not present.
  •  The behavior is not better explained by another mental disorder.

Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another

  • Making up false physical or psychological signs or symptoms, or causing injury or disease, in another, with the intent to deceive others.
  • The individual presents another individual (victim) to others as ill, injured or impaired.
  • The deceptive behavior is evident even when external rewards are not present.
  • The behavior is not better explained by another mental disorder.
 

The above criteria are adapted from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).