Somatic symptom disorder (SSD) is a condition in which there is a catastrophic misinterpretation of bodily symptoms (e.g., the fear that a physical symptom indicates the presence of a serious illness). Illness anxiety disorder (IAD) is the fear that one has or could develop or contract a serious illness when no physical symptoms are present. In both SSD and IAD, extreme anxiety can provoke frequent doctor and hospital visits, searching for health information online, and seeking reassurance that you are healthy. You are thinking the worst about your symptoms and searching for a diagnosis or cure, even though doctors have said nothing is wrong. Health concerns that arise from SSD and IAD can make it hard to function and may lead to disability.
TREATMENT: Psychotherapy can help ease symptoms and improve your quality of life. Effective treatments include cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) with exposure therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MCBT), and relaxation training (minimum 6-10 therapy sessions recommended).