What are Somatoform Disorders?
Somatoform disorders are a group of psychological problems in which a person exhibits bodily symptoms that cannot be explained medically or neurologically. Symptoms range in severity from moderate and infrequent to chronic and severe, and are uncontrollable by the individual.
Somatoform disorders are characterized by an abnormal preoccupation with bodily symptoms such as pain or exhaustion. These physical symptoms result in severe mental distress and considerable impairments in daily functioning for the individual. A person suffering from a somatoform condition will constantly obsess about their symptoms, desperately seeking a plausible explanation.
Somatoform illnesses are classified according to the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors associated with somatic symptoms. There are seven categories of somatoform diseases in which individuals exhibit a variety of clinically important symptoms that are undiagnosed, including the following:
- Disorder of somatization
- Disorder of conversion
- Disorder of pain
- Additional somatic symptom and disorder
- Unspecified somatic symptom and disorder associated with it
The symptoms of somatoform disorders cannot be attributed to a specific medical or neurological cause or disease. Severity can range from mild to severe and manifest as a single or a series of symptoms. Pain is the most common symptom of somatoform illnesses, and it is frequently accompanied by pervasive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with the pain. These thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can be burdensome and impair one’s ability to operate normally.
Somatoform diseases are characterized by the following thoughts, emotions, and behaviors:
- Persistent fear of illness
- Normal physiological feelings interpreted as a sign of severe physical illness
- In the lack of facts or medical confirmation, fear that symptoms are serious or life-threatening
- Uncertainty over medical examinations and treatment
- Excessive physician or hospital visits that never resolve concerns
- Significant impairment beyond what is typically expected in a medical situation
Although the exact causation of somatoform diseases is unknown, it is likely to involve a number of factors. There may be genetic and inherited variables involved, such as hypersensitivity to pain sensations. Another aspect that may play a role is familial influences.
A person with a negative personality feature can have an effect on how disease and physical symptoms are viewed. When a person has trouble identifying, discussing, or processing emotions, increased attention to body symptoms and sensations is frequently involved. In some instances, a somatoform disease may develop subconsciously in an attempt to get additional attention as a result of their imagined ailment.
Disability Application with a Diagnosis of Somatoform Disorders
If you have been diagnosed with a somatoform disease and believe you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, getting in touch with a Social Security Attorney is the first thing you should do. While the Social Security Administration recognizes somatoform disorder as a potentially disabling condition and includes it in the Blue Book (the Social Security Administration’s Manual of Impairments), establishing that your condition qualifies is frequently difficult.
Section 12.07 of the Blue Book discusses somatoform diseases. Section 12.00 discusses mental diseases in a larger context and contains a wealth of material relevant to persons seeking disability compensation for somatoform disorder (or any other mental disorder).
To qualify for disability payments if you have a somatoform disorder, you must meet a number of severe criteria. To begin, you must have written documentation from an appropriate medical source demonstrating that your ailment has lasted several years and began before to the age of thirty. The duration criterion may be eliminated if it can be demonstrated that your symptoms impair your vision, hearing, use of your limbs, or ability to make controlled movement.
Additionally, you must demonstrate that your disabling condition considerably limits your everyday activities, impairs your ability to interact socially, or significantly impairs your ability to concentrate on or complete tasks.
When you decide to file for Social Security disability benefits, it is critical that you continue to see your physician and/or mental health providers on a regular basis. Failure to do so risks rendering the documentation you are able to provide obsolete, resulting in delays in processing your disability claim.
Additionally, you’ll want to gather as much data as possible regarding your symptoms throughout time, including their length and any limitations they imposed on your daily functioning and job-related tasks. The SSA recognizes somatoform disorders, although there is some leeway built into the system for adjudicators to make judgment calls. As a result, the more proof you can present (particularly written evidence from a reliable medical source), the more likely you are to receive disability benefits.
Your Disability Case for Somatoform Disorder
If you are considering applying for Social Security disability benefits due to somatoform disorders, you should definitely consider hiring a Social Security disability attorney. The additional stress of disability filing and dealing with the Social Security Administration is the absolute last thing you need on top of your somatoform condition.
More importantly, if you are represented by an expert Social Security disability attorney, you have a considerably better chance of having your disability claim approved. While this is true for those claiming disability for any reason, it is especially true for diseases such as somatoform disorder, where the adjudication procedure is somewhat ambiguous.
A Social Security disability attorney has experience putting together disability claims and appeals. They are familiar with the information that the Social Security Administration is looking for and what information must be included in your papers in order for you to gain approval. Before proceeding further in the claims and appeals process, please complete the form on this page requesting a free examination of your claim.