Cognitive Behaviorial Therapy to Treat Somotoform Disorders Essay

Cognitive Behaviorial Therapy to Treat Somotoform Disorders Essay

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This paper addresses the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (“CBT”) to treat somatoform disorders and analyzes CBT both in general and how it compares to other treatments for the same disorder. Given the somewhat limited analysis of this treatment area by medical and mental health professionals, and as a result of the relatively recent nature of the analysis that does exist, various recommendations are discussed with respect to improvement of the existing treatment methodology.
Somatoform Disorders
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), describes somatoform disorders as a group of related mental health symptoms that are characterized by a patient’s presentation of multiple, current somatic symptoms that are distressing or result in significant impairment of daily functioning. A somatic symptom is the presentation of physical illness or distress that would appear to have a medical basis but which cannot be explained by either a general medical condition, direct effect of a substance, or any other mental health disorder. Patients who suffer from somatoform disorders firmly believe that the pain they are experiencing stems from a physical problem rather than a mental one; indeed, that is a fundamental aspect of the disorder. Somatoform disorders range from a simple and persistent pain disorder to hypochondriasis, which involves persistent anxiety over the existence of a serious illness, to conversion disorder, which involves the actual loss of a bodily function from excessive anxiety over the perceived ailment. (DSM-V, 2013)
The nature of the disorder makes it difficult to treat, since patients are convinced that they suffer from a real and serious medical problem. Indeed, the mere su...


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...has evidenced a greater likelihood to be more efficacious in the overall treatment of the disorder. While some other treatments have been shown to have positive results in certain circumstances, through multiple studies it has been preliminarily determined that only CBT remained consistently effective in reducing patients maladaptive symptoms and behaviors, and was the only treatment option that consistently improved functioning over a long period of time, further offering support for CBT as an empirically supported treatment for somatoform disorders. Nevertheless, substantial additional research and work is needed in order to better understand the various forms of the disorder and how to best address and treat each of them individually. With the expansion of research on somatoform disorders and what causes these disorders, treatment will be expanded and improved.

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