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Somatoform Disorders

Somatoform disorders are psychological disorders in which the individuals feel pain although no physical ailment exists to explain it. The symptoms associated with this disorder are real. The two general categories of somatoform disorders are hypochondriasis and conversion disorder. With hypochondriasis, individuals overreact to minor real or perceived ailments, while those with a conversion disorder experience specific and real physical symptoms even though no cause can be found. Some people with conversion disorder suffer from blindness, deafness, or are unable to speak.

Somatoform Disorders

Somatoform disorders are characterized by a patient’s continual complaint of physical ailments that cannot be explained by independent physical examination.  These disorders typically begin before the age of 30 and often lead to major medical interventions.  This disorder is often associated with histrionic and antisocial personality disorders.  Among the most common somatoform disorders is hypochondriasis.  Hypochondriasis can be distinguished from somatoform disorder by the following criteria: hypochondriasis can onset at any age; the primary complaint is fear of developing a serious ailment; and patients are typically in good health and not reassured by physicians.

Thus, even though the disorders of hypochondriasis and somatization are different, there is great deal of overlap between the two, and that is why they are part of the category of somatoform disorders. They both involve a preoccupation with the body and a general concern that they have a persistent illness. Initially in Ancient Greeks, it was believed that somatoform disorders were the result of sexual difficulties. Treatment was increased sex.

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