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Somatoform Disorders. What is a Somatoform Disorder?. Expressing psychological stress through physical symptoms. Persistent, recurring complaints of bodily symptoms that have NO physical or medical basis. This is NOT done intentionally. Types of Somatoform Disorders.

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what is a somatoform disorder
What is a Somatoform Disorder?
  • Expressing psychological stress through physical symptoms.
  • Persistent, recurring complaints of bodily symptoms that have NO physical or medical basis.
  • This is NOT done intentionally.
types of somatoform disorders
Types of Somatoform Disorders
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder – Exaggerated concern and preoccupation about minor or imagined defects in appearance.
    • See CNN video on new biological evidence – 2 min.
    • See the Many Faces of Michael Jackson (40 sec.)
  • Hypochondriasis – Unrealistic preoccupation with the fear that he or she has a serious disease.
    • Minor physical symptoms are misinterpreted to be major diseases.
    • The person does suffer and believes they are sick but it is all in their head.
  • Conversion Disorder – Converting a psychological factor (commonly anxiety) into an actual loss of physical function.
    • Can result in sudden blindness, laryngitis, or even paralysis.
conversion disorder glove anesthesia inability to feel your hand
Conversion Disorder Glove Anesthesia(Inability to Feel Your Hand)

A conversion disorder Glove anesthesia-—the experience of no sensation in the hand but continued sensation in all other parts of the arm, as shown in (a)-—cannot result from nerve damage, because no nerves innervate the hand without innervating part of the arm. The actual areas of sensory loss that would occur if specific nerves were damaged are shown in (b). Thus, whenever glove anesthesia occurs, it is most likely a conversion disorder.

causes of somatoform disorders
Causes of Somatoform Disorders
  • Psychoanalytic – person represses emotions associated with forbidden urges and express them through physical symptoms.
    • Compromise between the unconsciousness’ need to express feelings and the fear of actually expressing them.
  • Behavioral/Learning theorists – physical symptom allows an escape from mental stress – negative reinforcement
  • Biological – Genetics plays a role.