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Mental Health Center

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Somatic Symptom Disorder

What Complications Are Associated With Somatic Symptom Disorder?

A person with somatic symptom disorder is at risk for repeated episodes of symptoms. He or she also might suffer from reactions or health problems related to multiple tests, procedures, and treatments. In addition to the pain and frustration this disorder often causes to the person and his or her family, repeated episodes also can lead to unnecessary and risky procedures, as well as high medical bills and trouble functioning in daily life. Further, genuine medical problems can be missed in a person with a long history of having tests with negative results, because doctors may assume the person's complaint is caused by a psychiatric problem, rather than a real physical illness.

What Is the Outlook for People With Somatic Symptom Disorder?

This disorder tends to be a chronic (long-term) condition that can last for years. In many cases, symptoms can recur. Only a small percentage of patients recover completely. For that reason, the focus of treatment is on learning to manage and control symptoms, and on minimizing functional problems associated with the disorder.

Can Somatic Symptom Disorder Be Prevented?

There is no known way to prevent somatic symptom disorder. However, providing the person with an understanding and supportive environment might help decrease the severity of the symptoms and help him or her better cope with the disorder.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on July 08, 2014
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