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Somatoform Disorders

Treatment of Somatoform Disorders

Patients who experience unexplained physical symptoms often cling to the belief that their symptoms have an underlying physical cause, despite evidence to the contrary. Patients may also dismiss any suggestion that psychiatric factors are playing a role in their symptoms.

A strong doctor-patient relationship is a key to getting help with somatoform disorders. Seeing a single health care provider with experience managing somatoform disorders can help cut down on unnecessary tests and treatments.

The focus of treatment is on improving daily functioning, not on managing symptoms. Stress reduction is often an important part of getting better. Counseling for family and friends may also be useful.

Cognitive behavioral therapy may also help relieve symptoms associated with somatoform disorders. The therapy focuses on correcting:

  • distorted thoughts
  • unrealistic beliefs
  • behaviors that prompt health anxiety
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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on May 23, 2012

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