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6.outline.abnormal.lsu.f.09 - CHAPTER SIX SOMATOFORM AND...

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CHAPTER SIX SOMATOFORM AND DISSOCIATIVE DISORDERS I. Somatoform Disorders A. Somatoform disorders - suffered by persons who are overly preoccupied with their health or body appearance - (soma meaning body). What these disorders share in common is that there is usually no identifiable medical condition causing the physical complaints. B. Hypochondriasis - refers to physical complaints without a clear cause, and particularly severe anxiety focused on the possibility of having a serious disease. Medical reassurance does not seem to help. 1. The essential problem in hypochondriasis is anxiety. The expression of anxiety differs from other anxiety disorders as follows: In hypochondriasis a person is preoccupied with bodily symptoms and misinterprets them as signs of illness or disease. Just about any physical symptom is cause for alarm. Such persons almost always present first to their physician. a. Hypochondriasis shares many features with anxiety and chronic depression, and rates of comorbidity with such disorders are high. b. Another important feature of hypochondriasis is that reassurance from numerous doctors that the person is healthy has, at best, only a short- term positive effect. c. Persons with hypochondriasis fear the possibility of already having a disease, whereas persons with illness phobia are fearful of developing a disease. 2. Hypochondriasis is thought to be caused by distorted cognitive or perceptual and emotional factors. -For example, persons with hypochondriasis tend to interpret ambiguous stimuli such as minor pain as threatening. -These cognitive distortions and increased self-focusing tend to create anxiety and subsequently more physical symptoms Persons with hypochondriasis also have a restricted concept of health as being totally symptom free. a. Other etiological factors may include genetic vulnerabilities – runs in families. However, this may not be specific inheritance – people may inherit a tendency to overreact to stress.
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Tendency to view negative life events as unpredictable and uncontrollable – extends to concerns about random bodily issues Modeling of adults with hypochondriasis. b. Development of Hypochondriasis 1) A stressful life event, such as death or illness. 2) Disproportionate incidence of familial disease during childhood 3) Receive substantial attention for illness-related behaviors. WARNING SIGNS FOR HYPOCHONDRIASIS Frequent visits to the doctor Fixation on a disease that no doctor has diagnosed Rejection of a doctor's reassurance that there is nothing seriously wrong with you Continuous doctor-shopping Checking your body many times a day/week for peculiarities Preoccupation with an illness that you see on television or in the newspaper Excessive concern about fear or pain Frequent thoughts of death C. Somatization disorder (also known as Briquet's syndrome until 1980), involves an extended history of physical complaints before age 30 and substantial impairment in social or occupational functioning.
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6.outline.abnormal.lsu.f.09 - CHAPTER SIX SOMATOFORM AND...

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