A diagnosis is made via a medical professional’s evaluation, based on specific criteria.
Medical professionals diagnose somatic symptom disorder when individuals do the following:
- Have symptoms that worry them excessively and/or disrupt their daily life.
- Constantly think about how serious their symptoms are.
- Are extremely anxious about their health or the symptoms.
- Spend an excessive amount of time and energy on the symptoms or health concerns.
To determine whether symptoms are due to a physical disorder, medical professionals perform a thorough examination and often do tests.
Somatic symptom disorder can be distinguished from similar mental health disorders by its many persistent symptoms and the accompanying excessive thoughts and worries about the symptoms.
This disorder may be missed in older individuals because certain symptoms, such as fatigue or pain, are considered part of ageing or because worry about symptoms is considered understandable in older individuals, who usually have several medical problems and take many drugs.