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Hypochondriasis Research Papers

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Somatoform disorders are a group of psychiatric disorders that cause unexplainable physical symptoms. The DSM IV lists the symptoms as weakness, seizures, or abnormal movements that are not attributable to a general medical condition or to feigning and that are judged to be associated with psychological factors. Hypochondriasis is defined as “an overwhelming fear that you have a serious disease, even though health care providers can find no evidence of illness” (University of Maryland Medical Center). Although it is widely believed to be a stable and chronic condition with a low remission rate, studies show that patients exhibit significant declines in symptoms yet continue to meet the DSM’s diagnostic criteria over an extended time period.…show more content…
Cognitive therapy has also been proven to be effective in reducing health anxiety. An estimated 75 to 85% of people who have hypochondriasis also have anxiety, depression, or another accompanying mental disorder. Although drugs are rarely directly used for hypochondriasis treatment, serotonin repute inhibitors are often prescribed for the treatment of associated mental conditions. Studies have shown that SSRIs, particularly fluoxetine, are highly effective. Conversion disorder is defined as “a mental condition in which a person has blindness, paralysis, or other neurological symptoms that cannot be explained by medical intervention” (U.S. National Library of Medicine). Symptoms may arise in response to a psychological conflict and usually appear suddenly after a stressful event. It should also be noted that symptoms diagnosed as conversion disorder are ascribed to an underlying medical etiology in 30% of cases. Furthermore, those with conversion disorder are at an increased risk for medical illness, dissociative disorders, and personality disorders. The physical symptoms are believed to be an attempt to resolve an internal conflict- for example, a woman who believes is not acceptable to have violent feelings may feel numbness in her arms after becoming angry and wanting to hit…show more content…
This new DSM-V term focuses on basing diagnosis on positive symptoms, rather than the absence of a medical explanation of somatic symptoms. “While DSM-IV was organized centrally around the concept of medically unexplained symptoms, DSM-5 criteria instead emphasize the degree to which a patient’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors about their somatic symptoms are disproportionate or excessive ” (American Psychological Association). The DSM-V now defines conversion disorder as functional neurological symptom disorder due to overlapping symptoms and lack of medical evidence. Another key change in the DSM-V criteria is that while medically unexplained symptoms were a key feature for many of the disorders in DSM-IV, a somatic symptom disorder diagnosis does not require that the symptoms are medically unexplained. The criteria for conversion disorder has been modified to underscore the the essential importance of the neurological examination and in recognition that relevant psychological factors may not be demonstrable at the time of
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