Patient Care

Somatic Symptom Disorder

What is Somatic Symptom Disorder?

Somatic Symptom Disorder, also known as Somatic Disorder, involves the presence of significant bodily symptoms that cause emotional distress and affects functioning for six months or more.

People with somatic symptom disorder may be extremely worried and anxious about their uncomfortable bodily symptoms, and engage in behaviours such as repeated doctor visits and seeking of reassurance and health information, which takes up a lot of their time and energy.

What are the signs & symptoms of Somatic Symptom Disorder?

Bodily symptoms may be general sensations like fatigue and weakness, or specific sensations like pain and chest tightness. These symptoms may present alone (one symptom) or with others (multiple symptoms). These symptoms range from mild and moderate, to severe. The symptoms typically last for six months or more, though they may not be continuously present. These symptoms can be unrelated to a pre-existing medical condition, or when related, is presented in an intensity or severity that is worse than what is usually expected.

These uncomfortable bodily symptoms cause the person to develop excessive thoughts, feelings, or behaviours, which may include:

  • Constant worrying about the seriousness of the symptoms.
  • Fearing that the symptoms may be the signs of a severe physical illness.
  • Persistently high level of anxiety about health or symptoms.

Excessive time and energy become devoted to these symptoms and health concerns, causing:

  • Daily functioning, such as work or family life, to be affected.
  • The person to become emotionally distressed, develop depressive or anxiety symptoms.
What are the treatment options of Somatic Symptom Disorder?

Cognitive behavioural therapy to cope with the uncomfortable bodily symptoms, target any unhelpful beliefs and expectations that may be causing or worsening the symptoms, and learn strategies to time and pace physical activities and manage stress. The doctor may also prescribe medications to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and pain that often occur with the condition.

Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

You can search by -
  • Condition name 'Somatic Symptom Disorder' AND
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National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
  • Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
  • Alexandra Hospital
  • Jurong Community Hospital
  • National University Polyclinics
  • Jurong Medical Centre
  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
  • National University Heart Centre, Singapore
  • National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore
  • NUHS Diagnostics
  • NUHS Pharmacy
  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
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