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What are somatic complaints?

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Quick Answer

According to WebMD, somatoform complaints are mental illnesses that cause physical symptoms such as pain. They are also known as somatoform disorders, which, according to Mayo Clinic, were once known as hypochondriasis.

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Full Answer

As WebMD states, the type of somatoform complaints a person experiences depends on the type and severity of his condition. Usually, they involve pain. Although this is a mental illness, the patient is not making the pain up, and the symptoms he experiences have an affect on his day-to-day life. Other complaints include gastrointestinal problems, neurologic conditions and sexual disorders.

According to Mayo Clinic, a patient must experience a symptom for six months or more before a somatoform disorder diagnosis can take place. WebMD lists the different types of somatoform disorders that exist, which include undifferentiated disorders and pain disorder. Those who experience pain disorders usually encounter the symptoms following a stressful life event and often seek medical care. Other somatoform complaints include body dysmorphic disorder, which involves patients imagining or exaggerating a physical flaw. Those who suffer from neurological complaints sometimes receive a conversion disorder diagnosis, which includes loss of eyesight, numbness, tingling and paralysis. In rare cases, patients experience symptoms that cause them to believe they have very serious conditions, such as brain tumors.

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