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Somatic symptom and related disorders 

Somatic symptom and related disorders
Somatic symptom and related disorders

Michael Sharpe

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date: 07 March 2021

Somatic symptom disorder is a diagnosis for patients who have marked concern about physical symptoms that appears to be disproportionate to the severity of any associated disease. In conversion disorder the patient’s symptom is loss of a function, such as movement of a limb. This does not mean that the symptoms are not real. Somatic symptom disorder incorporates the older diagnoses of somatoform disorder, somatization disorder, Briquet’s syndrome, and hypochondriasis. Somatic symptom disorder of mild severity is common in medical clinics; it usually responds to simple explanation and reassurance. More severe somatic symptom disorder with multiple symptoms and severe disability is less common, but important to diagnose because these patients are at substantial risk of iatrogenic harm from excessive investigation and speculative medical or surgical treatment. Severe somatic symptom disorder usually requires multidisciplinary care, including liaison psychiatry.

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