Somatoform Disorders

Somatoform disorders are characterized by physical sensations/symptoms and bodily pain with no known organic (physical) cause, that have been persistent for more than six months

Invariably the symptoms are persistent, severe, and debilitating.

The derivation of the term somatoform is body-like.

These are physical sensations/symptoms of Mind Body Syndrome which is a stress illness

There is nothing physically wrong with the body.

There is an association of a substantial (though uncertain) proportion of these disorders with psychological causation.

The psychological causation if often repressed emotional pain we have not dealt with.

These repressed emotions are in our subconscious minds.

We are unaware of them.

They are a form of subconscious distress.

Our subconscious brain alerts the conscious minds that it is in emotional pain.

Our conscious mind misinterprets this as dangerous and gets us to take notice by giving us something we won't ignore - usually pain, but also fatigue or other impairing medical symptoms.

Diagnostic clues:

  • A person has one or more somatic symptoms that are distressing or cause problems in daily life. For example, pain or fatigue
  • A person has excessive and persistent thoughts about the seriousness of their symptoms
  • A person has a persistently high level of anxiety about their health or symptoms
  • A person devotes too much time and energy to their symptoms or health concerns
  • A person continues to have symptoms that concern them. These symptoms typically persist for more than six months. The symptoms may vary

Persistent somatoform pain disorder is also referred to as Neuroplastic pain

  • The predominant complaint is of persistent, severe, and distressing pain, which cannot be explained fully by a physiological process or a physical disorder
  • Pain occurs in association with repressed emotional conflict

Somatoform autonomic dysfunction

  • The symptoms are presented by the patient as if they were due to a physical disorder of a system or organ that is largely or completely under autonomic innervation and control, i.e., the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, or respiratory system.

Heart and cardiovascular system

  • Da Costa's syndrome
  • Neurocirculatory asthenia

Upper gastrointestinal tract

  • Hiccough
  • Dyspepsia
  • Pylorospasm

Lower gastrointestinal tract

  • IBS
  • Diarrhoea gas syndrome

Respiratory system

  • Chronic cough

Genitourinary system

  • Frequency of micturition and dysuria (Interstitial cystitis)

Other somatoform disorders

  • In these disorders the presenting complaints are not mediated through the autonomic nervous
  • Tissue damage is not involved
  • They are closely associated in time with stressful events or problems
  • Sensations of swelling, movements on the skin, and paraesthesias (tingling and/or numbness) are common examples

Disorders such as the following should also be included here:

  • A feeling of a lump in the throat causing dysphagia)
  • Other forms of dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing)
  • Torticollis (twisted stiff soe neck)
  • Other disorders of spasmodic movements (but excluding Tourette's


  • Pruritus(itchiness)
  • dysmenorrhoea (but excluding dyspareunia and frigidity)
  • teeth-grinding

Whilst we cannot change what has happened to us in the past, we can change how we think and feel and react to these events and control our past, present, and even our future through a dedicated neuroplastic programmed approach.

If, once you have had all treatable organic causes of your pain or other medically unexplained symptoms excluded and treated and your pain or symptoms persists or gets worse, then it is worth considering whether your chronic pain is actually neuroplastic pain or your symptoms neuroplastic.

These are conditions I can help you with

I am skilled in the diagnostic assessment of these conditions.

I have recovered from neuroplastic pain myself and developed The Pain Recovery Program and White River Manor Pain Recovery Program as a result.

If you would like to find out more about this subject, then please GetInTouch