A. One or more somatic symptoms that are distressing or result in significant disruption of daily life
B. Excessive thoughts, feelings, or behaviors related to the somatic symptoms or associated health concerns as manifested by at least one of the following:
C. Although any one somatic symptom may not be continuously present, the state of being symptomatic is persistent (typically more than 6 months).
A Somatic Symptom is Defined as: of or relating to the body.
A somatic symptom disorder is someone who suffers from a physical ailment that does not have an actual physical cause. Often times this appears as headaches that can not be explained, backaches or back pain that doesn't come from an injury, or abdominal pain.
The key features for somatic symptom disorder are daily distress caused by a physical ailment, and that the ailment can not be explained as a physical or biological problem.
Our minds and bodies are interconnected. What happens to one can happen to the other. As we experience emotional or mental pain, suffering, or burden, we start to experience what is called psycho-somatic symptoms – or physical symptoms that are actually caused by your mind.
While it is our minds that are actually causing psycho-somatic symptoms, this doesn't mean that it is intentional. In fact, that would be impossible. Our minds cause this pain to our bodies without ever asking us for permission, and furthermore our minds are not willing to turn it off just because we tell them to stop.
When pain is caused by your mind its understandable why your physician can't find the cause – because there isn't physically anything wrong with you. The problem is mental or emotional.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is the only true form of “cure” for somatic symptom disorder.
Some medications can help to reduce symptoms of the underlying mental or emotional turmoil, which in turn can reduce your somatic symptoms, but medications are not a cure – talk to your primary care physician for more information. However, we recommend using medications in the treatment of general anxiety disorder only in combination with talk therapy.