Essay: Undifferentiated somatoform Disorder

Sample Essay – Undifferentiated somatoform Disorder

Undifferentiated Somatoform disorder as described by Schultz refers to the diagnosis given to an individual with one or more physical complaints, persistent for at least six months (57). However, these symptoms do not fully meet the criteria for Somatization disorder. The general characteristics of this disorder include: the patient experiences one or more physical complaints such as fatigue, gastrointestinal or urinary complaints and loss of appetite.

These symptoms last for six months or longer and are unintentionally produced or feigned; the symptoms result in clinically significant distress or impairment of social, occupational, or other vital areas of functioning (65). The patient also has symptoms that cannot be fully explained by a known general medical condition or the direct effects of a substance or a general medical condition is existent but the physical complaints are in excess of what would be expected considering the results of the physical examination, lab findings or history of the patient. The direct causes of this disorder are unclear. However, some experts believe that family related problems present during an individual’s childhood may have resulted in the development of the disorder. Depression and stress are other possible causes of this disorder. Another possible cause may include obsessive attention to minor changes or sensations in one’s body especially in people who overreact to minor medical conditions. These feelings are given undue weight and unnecessary worry. Assuming the ‘sick role’ to escape unpleasant circumstances and responsibilities as well as fulfilling dependency needs through attention and sympathy are other plausible causes of this disorder (99).

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