Somatoform Disorder Essay

1549 words - 6 pages

The human mind is an organ with a balance of power, strength, and fragility that has produced many wondrous and disastrous things in its wake. The potential and power of the mind has yet to be fully explained nor even comprehended but yet like so many other areas of the human existence the fascination with it has left many daunting questions about its machinations. At its disposal is a limitless array of creativity and purpose. Sciences have been developed and studied, evoked from concepts of the very thoughts that have been produced by this human machinery. The intricacies of the human mind may never be explained, but it will always leave us with subject matter to explore.
For years doctors have been presented with the challenge of dealing with human behavior and the reasons for its inner workings. Whether socio or economic factors guide individuals into certain behaviors or even both is yet to be seen. Enter such a subject topic as Somatoform Disorders, a mental disorder characterized by a series of physical symptoms ailing an individual with no real proof that would characterize any physiological cause. “Somatoform disorder is an umbrella term encompassing the following conditions: somatization disorder, conversion disorder, undifferentiated disorder, pain disorder, hypochondria, and last but not least, body dysmorphic disorder” (Schonbeck, 2006).
At the root of this disorder is stress. More females than males experience these symptoms because of the high pressures that are placed on them by societal expectations. “Somatoform disorder is the third highest psychological disorder following depression and anxiety”, respectively (Yates, 2011). Many patients are misdiagnosed because of the need for physical treatment instead of serving the psychological problem at hand. Patients often have a heightened awareness of themselves and their bodies evoking a predisposition to interpreting physiological distress into physical discomfort. Also, somatoform patients are somewhat apprehensive about expressing the true causation factors of their ailment due to ridicule or shame.
One of the disorders, Somatization, formerly known as “Briquet’s Syndrome, named after the French physician who first discovered it, Z.J. Lipowski who defined somatization in the American Journal of Psychiatry as “the tendency to experience and communicate somatic distress and symptoms not accounted for by pathologic findings, to attribute them to physical illness and to seek medical help for them”(Schonbeck, 2006). The symptoms usually begin before the age of 30 and will tend to carry out throughout a patient’s life time. The disorder requires four symptoms of pain, two symptoms in the digestive tract, one symptom involving sexual organs, and one symptom related to the nervous system. It can also be hereditary.
On the other hand, conversion disorder takes the patient down a far more sinister path. “The disorder gets its name from the notion that the patient is converting a...

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