Search databaseBooksAll DatabasesAssemblyBiocollectionsBioProjectBioSampleBioSystemsBooksClinVarConserved DomainsdbGaPdbVarGeneGenomeGEO DataSetsGEO ProfilesGTRHomoloGeneIdentical Protein web CatalogNucleotideOMIMPMCPopSetProteinProtein ClustersProtein family members ModelsPubChem BioAssayPubChem CompoundPubChem SubstancePubMedSNPSRAStructureTaxonomyToolKitToolKitAllToolKitBookgh Bookshelf. A organization of the nationwide Library the Medicine, national Institutes of Health.

You are watching: With regard to a diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder, women are

StatPearls . Endowment Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-.


Continuing education and learning Activity

According to the 5th edition the the Diagnostic and also Statistical manual of mental Disorders (DSM-V), somatic symptom disorder (SSD) requires one or more physical symptoms accompanied by an excessive amount the time, energy, emotion, and/or actions related come the symptom that results in far-reaching distress and/or dysfunction. Physical symptoms might or might or might not be described by a clinical condition. In ahead editions of the Diagnostic and also Statistical manual of psychological Disorders, the diagnosis that somatic symptom disorder might not it is in made unless somatic symptom were no able to be described clinically. Additionally, previous editions did not include the need that certain psychobehavioral attributes be current for the diagnosis the somatic symptom disorder to be made. The DSM-5 additionally removed somatization disorder, regardless of somatoform disorder, hypochondriasis, and pain disorder. Numerous patients that historically met the criteria for one of those conditions now meet criteria for SSD, based on these revisions. This task reviews the presentation, evaluation, and management that SSD and also stresses the interprofessional team method to the treatment of impacted patients.

Describe somatic symptom disorder.
Review the public health of somatic symptom disorder.
Explain how to effectively manage a patient v somatic symptom disorder.
Outline modalities to improve care coordination among interprofessional team members in bespeak to enhance outcomes for patients impacted by somatic symptom disorder.


Somatic symptom disorder (SSD) is a recently characterized diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical hand-operated of mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). The is the manifestation the one or more physical symptoms accompanied by too much thoughts, emotion, and/or actions related come the symptom, i beg your pardon causes far-reaching distress and/or dysfunction.<1> these symptoms may or may not be explained by a medical condition. The two major changes to the DSM-IV criteria included eliminating the requirement that somatic symptom be organically unexplained and adding the requirement that details psychobehavioral functions have to be present to justify the diagnosis. The new criteria likewise eliminated somatization disorder, undifferentiated somatoform disorder, hypochondriasis, and pain disorder native the previous definitions. This revisions to be intended to increase the relationship of SSD and also its use in the primary treatment setting.


Somatic symptom disorder (SSD) arises from a heightened awareness of miscellaneous bodily sensations, which are merged with one inclination to interpret these sensations as indicative of clinical illness. While the etiology that SSD is unclear, studies have investigated risk factors including childhood neglect, sexual abuse, chaotic lifestyle, and history of alcohol and also substance abuse.<1> Furthermore, major somatization has actually been associated with axis II personality disorders, specifically avoidant, paranoid, self-defeating, and also obsessive-compulsive disorder.<2> Psychosocial stressors, consisting of unemployment and impaired work functioning, have likewise been implicated.<3>


The pervasiveness of somatic symptom disorder (SSD) is estimated to it is in 5% come 7% of the basic population, with greater female depiction (female-to-male ratio 10:1), and can take place in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood.<1><3> The prevalence boosts to approximately 17% of the primary treatment patient population.<4> The prevalence is likely greater in details patient populations with sensible disorders, including fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic tiredness syndrome.<5>


The pathophysiology of somatic symptom disorder (SSD) is unknown. Autonomic arousal native endogenous noradrenergic link may cause tachycardia, gastric hypermotility, heightened arousal, muscle tension, and pain linked with muscular hyperactivity in patients v SSD. There may likewise be a genetic component. A research of monozygotic and also dizygotic twins revealed the the donation of genetic components to somatic symptoms was 7% to 21%, when the staying was attributable to ecological factors.<6> Several single nucleotide polymorphisms were associated with somatic symptom in an additional study.<7>

History and also Physical

Three requirements accomplish the diagnostic criteria because that somatic syndrome obstacle (SSDs) follow to the American Psychiatric Association"s 2013 DSM-5:

One or an ext thoughts, feelings, and/or habits that are regarded the somatic symptom(s) which are persistent, excessive, associated with a high level the anxiety, and also results in the devotion of excessive time and energy

The visibility of SSD might be said by a vague and also often inconsistent background of existing illness, symptoms the are seldom alleviated with clinical interventions, patience attribution of normal sensations as medical illness, avoidance of physics activity, high sensitivity to medication disadvantage effects, and medical care from multiple providers for the same complaints.

In addition to a thoroughly history, a full review of equipment (not just at the location of the symptom) and a comprehensive physical test is required to advice physical reasons of somatic complaints. Given regular comorbid psychiatric disease, a mental status examination must be performed, noting appearance, mood, affect, attention, memory, concentration, orientation, the presence of hallucinations or delusions, and also suicidal or homicidal ideation.<8> Ultimately, the physics examination may administer a baseline for surveillance over time, guarantee patients the their complaints are acknowledged, and assist validate the primary care provider’s problem that the patience does not have a physical clinical illness. If a an illness is present, the test may administer information on severity.


Limited laboratory trial and error is recommended together it is common for patients v somatic syndrome disorder (SSD) come have had a thorough former workup. Extreme testing introduces the hazard of false-positive results, which deserve to subsequently lead to extr interventional procedures, its associated risks, and also increased costs. When some clinicians bespeak tests to carry out reassurance to the patient, studies disclose that such diagnostic trial and error does not reduce SSD symptoms. A meta-analysis by Rolfe and also colleagues contrasted diagnostic trial and error versus a non-testing control condition, demonstrated that resolution that somatic symptoms and reduction of disease concern and also anxiety was comparable in between both groups. There was only a modest decrease in succeeding visits in the group that got diagnostic testing.<9>

If the is important to ascendancy out somatization due to medical conditions, specific studies might be ordered, including but not limited to thyroid function tests, urine drug screen, restricted blood researches (i.e., alcohol level), and minimal radiological testing.

Treatment / Management

The main objective is to aid the patience cope v physical symptoms, including health and wellness anxiety and maladaptive behaviors, as opposed to eliminating the symptoms. Caution should be worked out when send to patients the their physics symptoms space exacerbated by anxiety or excessive emotional troubles as patients might be resistant to this suggestion. The primary care provider need to schedule regular visits come reinforce the symptoms room not suggestive that a life-threatening or disabling medical condition.<10> Diagnostic procedures and also invasive surgical treatment are not recommended. Sedative medications, including benzodiazepines and also narcotic analgesics, are avoided. Early on psychiatric treatment is recommended. Researches have presented that cognitive-behavioral treatment is connected with significant improvement in patient-reported functioning and somatic symptoms, a diminish in health treatment costs,<11> and also a palliation in depressive symptoms.<12> Pharmacologic approaches must be limited, yet antidepressants deserve to be initiated to treat psychiatric comorbidities (anxiety, depressive symptoms, obsessive-compulsive disorder). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and also serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) have shown efficacy v an improvement of SSD compared to placebo.<13> However, medicines should be initiated at the shortest dose and also increased gradually to attain a therapeutic result as patients with SSD may have a short threshold because that perceiving disadvantage effects, introducing another resource of concern.

Differential Diagnosis

The diffuse, non-specific symptoms in somatic syndrome disorder (SSD) may confound and mimic gift of other clinical illnesses, do diagnosis and also treatment difficult. Excessive and disproportionate emotional and behavioral responses may be existing in adjustment disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and also illness stress and anxiety disorder. Other functional obstacle of unsure etiology, including fibromyalgia and also irritable bowel syndrome, perform not frequently manifest with excessive thoughts, emotions, or maladaptive behavior.


Longitudinal studies show significant chronicity, v up come 90% that somatic syndrome disorder (SSD) instances lasting longer than 5 years.<14><15> systematic reviews and also meta-analyses have actually revealed the therapeutic interventions only yield small-to-moderate impact sizes.<16><17> Chronic limitation of general function, far-ranging psychological disability, and decreased quality of life are typically observed.<15><18>


Alcohol and also drug abuse are typically observed,<19> and also sometimes used to reduce symptoms, increasing the danger of dependence on managed substances. If the provider decides to go after invasive diagnostic steps or surgical interventions, iatrogenic complications may arise.

Deterrence and Patient Education

The provider should acknowledge the patient’s symptoms and also suffering and offer constant follow-up evaluations. Patient should primarily discuss any type of somatic symptoms with their primary care provider, that will evaluate the need for subspecialty evaluation. Prompt treatment of psychiatric comorbidities and also addressing life stressors may boost somatic symptoms. The education of family members members is frequently necessary. Family members should spend time with patients, specifically when symptoms space absent, to prevent reinforcing the idea that symptoms bring special attention from others.<20>

Pearls and Other Issues

As argued by Frances et al., the diagnostic criteria the somatic syndrome disorders (SSDs) room liberal and easy come meet. If a patient has actually a medical condition that causes excessive worry, they might be diagnosed through SSD based upon DSM-V criteria. Furthermore, these criteria space subjective, unreliable, and also may predispose the provider to pursue an incomplete diagnostic workup, potentially lacking underlying medical or psychiatric illnesses.<21> The previous concern with the DSM-IV criteria was the it was also restrictive and stringent; because that instance, to fulfill criteria for somatoform disorder per DSM-IV, one would have to report four unique pain symptoms, 2 gastrointestinal symptoms, one sex-related or reproductive symptom other than pain, and one pseudoneurological complaint.<22> However, in the effort to define criteria the are much more utilized in the clinical setting, the DSM-V work group may have set definitions through high sensitivity but low specificity, catching 7% of healthy people.<21> Frances et al. Proposed alters to reduce false-positive overdiagnosis. Firstly, because that patients v a clinical illness, the reaction would have to be mentioned as “maladaptive,” “extreme,” “intrusive,” “impairing,” and “grossly in excess” contrasted to the meant reaction. These details words may reduce the misdiagnosis in patient who have adaptive vigilance that their wellness concerns. In those v no diagnosed medical illness, there would have to be adequate and repeated medical workups at an ideal intervals to uncover medical problems that may current with time. The final suggested criterion is to dominance out psychiatric disorders, particularly panic, generalized anxiety, and also depression, as these disorders might manifest with physical symptoms.

Some providers uncover patients through SSD daunting to manage and also often explain them in derogatory terms; the misconceived bias is that physical disorders are thought about genuine, when those v SSD room inappropriately accused of production their symptoms. As boosting primary care population with medically unusual symptoms receive a diagnosis the SSD, over there is a must educate and also train physicians about SSD, that is significance, and also how to best manage this patients.<23><24>

Enhancing healthcare Team Outcomes

Making a diagnosis of somatic syndrome is not constantly easy. Healthcare providers, consisting of nurse practitioners and primary care clinicians, should try and dominion out necessary disorders very first before make a diagnosis the a somatic syndrome. Some healthcare providers discover patients v SSD difficult to manage and often explain them in derogatory terms; the misconceived bias is the physical obstacle are thought about genuine, while those v SSD are inappropriately accused of manufacturing their symptoms. As an increasing primary care populace with medically unusual symptoms obtain a diagnosis of SSD, there is a must educate and also train physicians around SSD, that is significance, and how to ideal manage these patients.

See more: Japanese Immigrants Differed From Earlier Chinese Immigrants By

<23><24> When faced with a patient through somatic syndrome, a referral to a psychiatrist is very recommended. The outlook for patients v somatic syndromes is guarded. As soon as diagnosis and also treatment space initiated, the nurses and clinicians need to coordinate the care and also education the the patient and also family to obtain the finest outcomes. The syndrome is often chronic and can be associated with a negative quality the life.

Kurlansik SL, Maffei MS. Somatic Symptom Disorder. To be Fam Physician. 2016 jan 01;93(1):49-54.
Rost KM, Akins RN, Brown FW, smith GR. The comorbidity of DSM-III-R personality disorders in somatization disorder. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1992 Sep;14(5):322-6.
Harris AM, Orav EJ, Bates DW, Barsky AJ. Somatization increases impairment independent of comorbidity. J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Feb;24(2):155-61.
Creed F, Barsky A. A systematic evaluation of the public health of somatisation disorder and hypochondriasis. J Psychosom Res. 2004 Apr;56(4):391-408.
Häuser W, Bialas P, Welsch K, Wolfe F. Construct validity and also clinical utility of present research criteria that DSM-5 somatic symptom disorder diagnosis in patients through fibromyalgia syndrome. J Psychosom Res. 2015 Jun;78(6):546-52.
Kato K, Sullivan PF, Pedersen NL. Implicit class analysis of practical somatic symptoms in a population-based sample the twins. J Psychosom Res. 2010 May;68(5):447-53.
Holliday KL, Macfarlane GJ, Nicholl BI, Creed F, Thomson W, McBeth J. Genetic variation in neuroendocrine genes associates through somatic symptoms in the general population: results from the EPIFUND study. J Psychosom Res. 2010 May;68(5):469-74.
Tylee A, Gandhi P. The prominence of somatic symptoms in depression in major care. Prim treatment Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2005;7(4):167-76.
Rolfe A, Burton C. Reassurance after diagnostic trial and error with a short pretest probability of major disease: methodical review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Mar 25;173(6):407-16.
den Boeft M, Claassen-van Dessel N, valve der Wouden JC. Just how should we control adults v persistent unusual physical symptoms? BMJ. 2017 Feb 08;356:j268.
Allen LA, Woolfolk RL, Escobar JI, Gara MA, Hamer RM. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for somatization disorder: a randomized managed trial. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jul 24;166(14):1512-8.
Beltman MW, Voshaar RC, Speckens AE. Cognitive-behavioural treatment for depression in civilization with a somatic disease: meta-analysis that randomised controlled trials. Br J Psychiatry. 2010 Jul;197(1):11-9.
Kleinstäuber M, Witthöft M, Steffanowski A, van Marwijk H, Hiller W, Lambert MJ. Pharmacological interventions because that somatoform obstacle in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Nov 07;(11):CD010628.
Rief W, Rojas G. Stability of somatoform symptoms--implications for classification. Psychosom Med. 2007 Dec;69(9):864-9.
Jackson JL, Kroenke K. Prevalence, impact, and also prognosis of multisomatoform disorder in main care: a 5-year follow-up study. Psychosom Med. 2008 May;70(4):430-4.
Kleinstäuber M, Witthöft M, Hiller W. Efficacy of short-lived psychotherapy for multiple medically inexplicable physical symptoms: a meta-analysis. Clin Psychol Rev. 2011 Feb;31(1):146-60.
van Dessel N, den Boeft M, van der Wouden JC, Kleinstäuber M, Leone SS, Terluin B, Numans ME, van der Horst HE, valve Marwijk H. Non-pharmacological interventions for somatoform disorders and medically unusual physical symptom (MUPS) in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Nov 01;(11):CD011142.
de Waal MW, Arnold IA, Eekhof JA, valve Hemert AM. Somatoform obstacle in general practice: prevalence, functional impairment and also comorbidity with anxiety and also depressive disorders. Br J Psychiatry. 2004 Jun;184:470-6.
Hasin D, Katz H. Somatoform and substance use disorders. Psychosom Med. 2007 Dec;69(9):870-5.
Chaturvedi SK, Desai G, Shaligram D. Somatoform disorders, somatization and also abnormal condition behaviour. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2006 Feb;18(1):75-80.
Frances A. DSM-5 somatic symptom disorder. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2013 Jun;201(6):530-1.
Smith JK, Józefowicz RF. Diagnosis and also treatment of somatoform disorders. Neurol Clin Pract. 2012 Jun;2(2):94-102.
Chaturvedi SK. Many faces that somatic symptom disorders. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;25(1):1-4.
Rask MT, Andersen RS, Bro F, Fink P, Rosendal M. In the direction of a clinically useful diagnosis because that mild-to-moderate conditions of medically unusual symptoms in general practice: a mixed techniques study. BMC Fam Pract. 2014 Jun 12;15:118.

This publication is spread under the regards to the an imaginative Commons Attribution 4.0 international License (, which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any type of medium or format, as long as girlfriend give proper credit come the original author(s) and also the source, a link is noted to the an innovative Commons license, and also any changes made space indicated.