Patients diagnosed with somatoform disorders suffer from symptoms that relate to both psychiatric and physical ailments. Somatoform disorder sufferers typically exhibit or complain about physical ailments that cannot be diagnosed medically through standard tests. Often patients who suffer from this order exhibit no signs at all of any unusual health ailments, thus classifying them into this select group of people where medical science cannot explain that is happening to them.
Often patients diagnosed with somatoform disorders suffer from other psychiatric ailments that can manifest itself into apparent physical discrepancies. For example those that suffer from anxiety attacks or mood swings often complain of related physical pain and discomfort that cannot be detected by standard medical treatment. This is actually quite common amongst patients with these psychiatric issues, and often they are duo classified as sufferers of somatoform disorders.
However keep in mind that just because a patient does not exhibit signs of physical suffering that can be explained through medical analysis does not mean that these patients are not experiencing them. There are many severe sufferers of this disorders that often undergo painful surgical treatment to address the symptoms they have. For the most part these surgeries are unsuccessful, as again since medical analysis cannot explain them, neither can they really cure them.
That isn’t to say that those who suffer from somatoform disorders are lying or faking these symptoms. Patients who are classified as having this disorder believe strongly that they are in fact suffering from these physical medical ailments. Though there are some that perpetuate fake illnesses, for the most part those that are diagnosed genuinely believe the pain and suffering they feel are very real.
Treatment of somatoform disorder directly for the most part is unsuccessful. However again those who are diagnosed with the disorder often suffer from other mental and psychiatric illnesses as well, and thus treatment for those ailments often results in improvement as well for those with somatoform disorder. Often patients that are prescribed pharmaceutical grade drugs to treat depression and anxiety will note that their previously unexplained physical symptoms are cured as well. This further promotes current medical research that correlates somatoform disorders to other psychiatric illnesses.
The current medical research on the disorder is for the most part inconclusive. Again since there is no direct physical explanation to the pain and suffering the patient feels, the default explanation is merely that it is a mental disorder. Direct treatment of the disorder often proves to be unsuccessful, though in some cases a “placebo” effect is often apparent. However for the most part treatment using pharmaceutical drugs is often unsuccessful as there are no physical ailments that actually exist.
Patients suffering from somatoform disorder will often continue to suffer for years and years. The inability to directly address the physical aches and pain through medical science make the disorder all but a lost cost. The only explanation we currently have is that it is a debilitating mental disorder. Further research is therefor needed in the future to address the direct causes and cure for somatoform disorders.