Somatic Symptom & Related Disorder
In Somatoform disorders Psychological problems take a physical form. The Physical symptoms of Somatoform disorders, which have no known physiological explanation and are not under voluntary control, are thought to be linked to Psychological factors, presumably anxiety, and are therefore assumed to be Psychologically caused.
About Conversion Disorder:
In Conversion Disorder sensory or motor symptoms, suggest an illness related to neurological damage of some sort, though the bodily organs and nervous system are found to be fine. Affected people are genuinely unaware that they can function normally. This disorder may coincide with other problems, especially Somatic Symptom Disorder and it is most prevalent in low socioeconomic groups, women and men under extreme stress such as soldiers.
1. Partial or complete paralysis of arms or legs.
2. Loss of sense of touch.
3. Seizures and coordination disturbance.
4. Sensation of prickling, tingling or creeping on the skin.
5. Insensitivity to pain.
6. Vision impaired.
7. Aphonia, loss of voice or whispered speech sense of smell.
8. Anosmia, loss or impairment of the sense of smell.
In conversion disorder individual experience a traumatic event i.e. an unacceptable and unconscious conflict. Because the conflict and the resulting anxiety are unacceptable, the person represses the conflict making it unconscious. The anxiety continues to increase and threatens to emerge into consciousness, and the person “converts” It into physical symptoms, thereby relieving the pressure of having to deal directly with the conflict. This reduction of anxiety is considered to be the primary gain or reinforcing the event that maintains the conversion symptom. Social and cultural influences also contribute to conversion disorder, tends to occur in less educated, lower socioeconomic group where knowledge about disease and medical illness is not well developed. Biological Contributory factors seem to be less important than the overriding influence of interpersonal factors.
A principal strategy in treating conversion disorder is to identify and attend to the traumatic or stressful life event, if it is still present. Therapeutic assistance in re-experiencing or “reliving” the event is a reasonable first step. The therapist must also work hard to reduce any reinforcing or supportive consequences of the conversion symptoms.
David H. Barlow, BOSTON UNIVERSITY
V. Mark Durand, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA- ST. PETERSBERG
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