Therapy Toronto Psychotherapy Definitions

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Somatoform Disorder
Somatoform Disorder describes a group of conditions in which the physical pain and symptoms a person feels are related to psychological factors. It is a body sensation that appears to not be connected to an obvious physical problem and is believed to have psychological origins such as emotional and/or physical trauma that is expressed through unusual bodily sensations.


Although a medical practitioner may state that there is no apparent problem, through psychotherapy the origin and reason for the unusual sensation may become apparent.

These sensations may present as heightened feelings such as pain or tingling or numbness. People who have a somatoform disorder are not faking their symptoms. The pain that they feel is real.

Here are some of the more common physical symptoms that the person may experience: pain, headache, fatigue, digestive problems or loss of sexual desire.

The person may be concerned about normal bodily experiences, fearing that they are symptoms of debilitating illnesses.

On the other hand there may be an intense over-concern for bodily appearance, obsessing over 'flaws' with different parts of the body, as in Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

When no neurological disorder is actually present the person can experience paralysis of an arm or leg, vision or hearing loss and/or seizures. Stress may make the symptoms worse.
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