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Dr-A-Greene, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 309
Experience:  Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
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What is the typical treatment for a person diagnosed with a

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What is the typical treatment for a person diagnosed with a Somatoform Disorder?
Somatoform disorders can be difficult to treat. First, all medical causes must be ruled out. Once that has occurred, treatment with SSRIs (e.g. Paxil) or Benzodiazepines (e.g. xanax) can help to reduce anxiety. Somatoform disorders are primarily anxiety based. However, long term treatment with benzodiazepines like xanax is discouraged due to addiction issues. Next psychoeducation and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be helpful. I think that this is really the treatment of choice along with a psychiatrist prescribing any meds that could be helpful as an adjunct. Does this answer your question?
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Why are Somatoform Disorders primarily anxiety based?
Well, in psychoanalytic theory (think Freud here), somatoform disorders were termed "Hysteria." This term was changed many years later, but Freud noticed (particularly in his female patients - the term hysteria/hysterectomy - not a coincidence) that they experienced odd physical symptoms in lieu of manifesting outward anxiety about something. A classic example was a young female patient who developed a paralysis in her hand (not her arm - her hand, which is physically impossible). Eventually Freud linked it to her anxiety about masturbation (weird, but true). In Freud's times, women didn't talk about such things and certainly didn't have outward anxiety about them. So instead they drove their anxiety underground and it ended up coming out in physical ways instead. Years and years later the psychological community realized that hysteria wasn't just something that happened in women, but something that everyone could relate to (e.g. someone who giggles when they're nervous). The term was then changed and the treatments got better too. Somatoform Disorder is just a fancy way of saying that someone's anxiety is showing itself physically rather than them being aware of it. Long explanation - sorry. Does this make sense?
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