Somatic Disorders are a group of conditions that have the potential to interfere significantly with day-to-day functioning. There are a few different types of Somatic Disorders, each of which have differing symptoms.

It is possible for individual experiences of each condition to differ. In this article, we detail the different symptoms associated with each of the different Somatic Disorders.  

Overall, Somatic Disorders involve physical pain. However, there are also many psychological symptoms associated.

Somatic Disorders present a wide range of symptoms

What are Somatic Disorders?

Somatic Disorders: Somatic Disorders are a group of mental health conditions that involve emotional pain being expressed as physical symptoms, which cause significant distress. While the majority of mental health disorders are characterised by psychological symptoms, Somatic disorders instead see emotional pain expressed as physical symptoms. This process is known as Somatization – giving this group of disorders their name. Symptoms of this group of disorders vary considerably across the various Somatic disorders.

The different symptoms

As seen in our article on the different types of Somatic Disorders, these conditions vary significantly. Therefore, we present the key symptoms of each condition separately:

Somatic Symptom Disorder:

  • Pain in any area of the body, fatigue, nausea or sexual problems.
  • Extreme preoccupation with symptoms, believing they are severe
  • Spending excessive amount of time thinking about symptoms
  • Not aware that their symptoms and behaviour is abnormal
  • Will often exhibit extreme anxiety or low mood

Conversion Disorder:

  • Symptoms are normally preceded by a form of psychological distress
  • Emotional pain manifests as physical symptoms – primarily affecting sense or movement
  • Typical symptoms include blindness, deafness, paralysis, numbness, convulsions, inability to speak, walk or smell
  • Symptoms cannot be explained by general health condition
  • Will often exhibit low mood or anxiety

Factitious Disorder (Munchausen’s Syndrome):

  • Individual feigns symptoms of an illness in themselves or fabricates an illness in someone else
  • Will significantly exaggerate the severity of symptoms
  • May crave attention, sympathy or reassurance, and will be manipulative and intelligent
  • Will go to great lengths to keep up the masquerade, often tampering with test samples or results, and will happily undergo risky surgeries
  • Will often have an undiagnosed personality disorder

Illness Anxiety Disorder:

  • Intense feelings of anxiety about having an illness
  • Constant worry about overall health, and often checking the body for any sign of illness
  • Wanting regular reassurance from others that symptoms aren’t serious
  • Feeling of anxiety results in mild physical complaints like rapid heartbeat, dizziness and fatigue
  • Will often have another mental health condition, such as Anxiety or Depression.

Psychological Factors Affecting Other Medical Conditions:

  • Individual acts in a way that causes a medical condition to worsen
  • They may ignore the fact that a medical illness is present, or deny the severity of the condition involved
  • Will commonly ignore the advice of a Doctor, and will normally fail to persist with a treatment plan
  • They will run the risk of exacerbating their illness, and impact the lives of those around them
  • Is often associated with feelings of stress, anxiety and low mood

The impact these symptoms have

These symptoms will typically lead to the behaviour of an individual being altered. Impairment in their day-to-day life is common.

They may withdraw from social events, citing pain – which may cause them to give up work too. It will often result in a feeling of low mood.

Interestingly, these symptoms often run comorbidly with other mental health conditions such as Depression and Anxiety.


As discussed earlier, it is possible that everyone’s experience with a Somatic disorder will differ. This isn’t an exhaustive list of symptoms.

But in any case, any of these symptoms can lead to suffering – and it is therefore very important to seek treatment.

See Also

  1. Somatic Disorders: Everything You Need to Know
  2. What Are The Different Types of Somatic Disorders?
  3. What Are The Symptoms of Somatic Disorders?
  4. What Are The Causes of Somatic Disorders?
  5. How are Somatic Disorders Diagnosed?
  6. How Can Somatic Disorders be Treated?
  7. What is the Prognosis for Somatic Disorders?
  8. 10 Tips for Living With Somatic Disorders

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