Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders: Psychological Factors

Bodily sensations and changes, such as numbness, tingling, pain, dizziness, and itchiness, are everyday occurrences. These sensations and changes are most often transient and benign and stem from background “body noise.” Similarly, our bodies are covered in benign imperfections, such as blemishes, bumps, subcutaneous lumps, and dry bits. To most individuals, these bodily sensations, changes, and features are almost imperceptible and generally ignored; however, to some, these are perceived as indicative of a serious disease (e.g., a blemish is indicative of cancer) and are the source of considerable concern. For other individuals, the possibility of contracting a serious disease is the concern. Individuals who are impaired due to concerns of having or of acquiring a disease may meet the diagnostic criteria for a somatic ...

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