Undifferentiated somatoform disorder occurs when a person has physical complaints for more than six months that cannot be attributed to a medical condition. If there is a medical condition present, the complaints must be far more severe than can be accounted for by the presence of the medical problem.
The physical complaints that are expressed by people with undifferentiated somatoform disorder are many and varied. The similarity between all physical complaints associated with undifferentiated somatoform disorder is an absence of medical evidence for the symptoms or for their severity.
The causes of undifferentiated somatoform disorder are not clear. Some experts believe that problems in the family when the affected person was a child may be related to the development of this disorder.
Depression and stress are thought to be other possible causes. Other possible causes, especially in people who overreact to even minor medical conditions, include paying obsessive attention to any minor changes or sensations that their bodies experience. They give the feelings undue weight and worry unnecessarily about them.
The symptoms of undifferentiated somatoform disorder vary widely from person to person. Some of the most common physical complaints are:
The physical complaints generally last for long periods. Patients with undifferentiated somatoform disorder tend to complain of many different physical problems over time.
No matter what symptoms a person complains about, the overarching characteristic of the complaints is that no physical reason can be found for them.
The diagnosis of undifferentiated somatoform disorder is a less-specific version of somatization disorder that requires only a six-month or longer history of one or more unexplained physical complaints in addition to the other requisite clinical criteria.
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