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Somatoform Disorder NOS

Somatoform disorder not otherwise specified (NOS) occurs when a person experiences various somatoform disorder symptoms, but does not fully meet the diagnostic criteria for any particular disorder. This means that the person will have various symptoms, perhaps from a few different somatoform disorders, but it’s not definitive which disorder they suffer from. Somatoform disorders are a group of psychiatric disorders that include unexplained physical symptoms, usually over an extended period of time.

Symptoms of Somatoform Disorder NOS

  • Chronic pain in one or more parts of the body
  • Pain occurs more when stressed
  • Misinterpretation of regular body sensations to be medical problems
  • Physical symptoms have no origin that doctors can find
  • Patient makes frequent medical appointments, only to be disappointed
  • Patient has experienced traumatic events such as abuse in childhood
  • Patient experiences other problems like depression or anxiety
  • Patient misinterprets or exaggerates unexplained physical symptoms

What Causes Somatoform Disorder NOS?

Somatoform disorder NOS has physical implications, but the causes are rooted in psychiatric and psychological problems. The causes aren’t clear-cut, but professionals find that many people with somatoform disorders have suffered trauma earlier in life such as some kind of violence or abuse. As a result, the person may develop the disorder in adulthood. Sometimes people with high stress levels, anxiety and depression also express their psychological problems physically. People affected by somatoform disorders are not making up their symptoms, it’s not “all in their head,” and they aren’t consciously trying to deceive anybody including medical personnel. It’s important to remember that while the causes are psychological, they aren’t faked or fictitious.

Treatment for Somatoform Disorder NOS

Somatoform disorder NOS can be particularly frustrating to deal with not only because the symptoms are mysterious, but the diagnosis isn’t quite as definitive and conclusive as other somatoform disorders. People with somatoform disorder NOS can have different symptoms from different somatoform disorders, so it’s important to see a psychologist or psychiatrist. If you have sought medical treatment to no avail, perhaps it’s time to address underlying mental causes of your pain and discomfort. A trained, professional therapist will be able to help through different methods of treatment, including various forms of therapy, medication (if applicable), and through the teaching of new coping mechanisms and stress management.

What Should You Do?

If you or your primary care physician is suspicious that you may be suffering from a somatoform disorder, it’s very important to seek psychological help immediately. Keeping a productive relationship between your regular physician, psychologist and yourself is very helpful and can be an optimal combination of resources and knowledge. Remember, you deserve more answers, and you deserve to live a healthy, productive life free of physical and mental roadblocks.

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