• Are you preoccupied with bodily issues such as pain, tension, or skin changes?
  • Do you go to a healthcare provider more than is necessary?
  • Have you been told that you are too focused on your health?
  • Are you constantly seeking medical evaluation because you are worried about your symptoms?
  • Are you frequently worried that you may have a serious medical disease?
Somatic Symptom Disorder Treatment

Somatic symptom disorder (SSD) refers to a preoccupation with your health and physical symptoms without a biological cause. Disproportionate worry about harmless bodily changes, such as tension or pain, causes impairment in daily functioning. You may be excessively concerned with natural bodily functions developing into a medical illness. This concern can lead to time-consuming appointments at a healthcare provider’s office or requesting unnecessary lab work and medical testing. These safety behaviors are common with somatic symptom disorder. The prevalence of SSD among adults is about 5-7%.

Despite confirmation from a medical expert or other trusted individuals, you believe that sensations may indicate illness. Somatic sensations become magnified and are misperceived as dangerous. You have heightened awareness about benign bodily changes, such as gastrointestinal distress, tingling sensations, slight changes in the skin, heart palpitations, sexual performance, or pseudoneurological symptoms. Worrying about cancer, cardiovascular disease, or neurological disorders are common concerns that trigger somatic symptom disorder, or health anxiety.

Illness Anxiety Disorder is a related issue, focusing on those preoccupied with developing a medical disease or condition. An individual experiencing pain may become overly worried about sickness despite the assurance that symptoms are benign.

Treatments for Somatic Symptom Disorder

Psychotherapy has been shown to effectively treat somatic symptom disorder. Dr. Mazzei is an anxiety specialist and has helped many people overcome somatic symptom disorder and health anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective therapies to address SSD. CBT facilitates positive changes in one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Unhelpful thinking typically involves illogical thoughts about the seriousness of symptoms, irrational rules about health, intolerance of bodily sensations, low self-esteem, and catastrophizing.

CBT uses techniques specifically for somatic symptom disorder, including in vivo and imaginal exposure. In vivo exposure refers to directly facing a situation once you’ve mastered certain skills, such as relaxation training and thought changing. The goal is that you become calmer and relaxed once you are continually exposed to the event, such as a pain sensation, that triggered the fear.

Imaginal exposure allows you to use your imagination to help you work through the illness anxiety triggered by driving fear. Along with Dr. Mazzei, a CBT specialist, you will create a hierarchy of situations from the least to the most anxiety provoking. Typically, imaginal exposure is used first followed by in vivo exposure. Dr. Mazzei and you will work together to engage you in different situations, keeping you calm and in control.

Many people struggle with insomnia due to chronic worry from SSD. Dr. Mazzei uses CBT-I to improve your sleep quality.

EMDR Therapies

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is another therapy that resolves any traumatic memories at the root cause of somatic symptoms disorder. Often SSD is associated with historical events and fear of illness. EMDR therapy facilitates the reprocessing of associated memories so that they aren’t impacting your current functioning. Some people with health anxiety engage in care seeking relationships due to broken relationships from earlier life. EMDR therapy can help to repair insecure attachments and foster healthier relationships.

With these combined therapies, Dr. Mazzei can help free yourself from the past and gain the skills you need to lead a fulfilling life.

Hypnosis for Somatic Symptom Disorder

Hypnosis involves entering a trance-like state to induce positive emotional and behavioral change. Hypnotherapy has been successfully utilized to reduce health anxiety. Guided by Dr. Mazzei, a certified hypnotherapist, you will enter a frame of mind in which you are given suggestions. These suggestions are tailored based on your specific needs, such as eliminating SSD. You will likely feel especially relaxed when doing hypnosis. In this state, your mind is typically more open to change.

Somatic Symptom Disorder Treatment

Dr. Mazzei has helped many people overcome somatic symptom disorder. She integrates proven psychological therapies into treatment while focusing on giving you emotional support. She utilizes CBT, hypnosis, and EMDR therapy to provide the most effective therapy for you. If you are looking to live with confidence again, Dr. Mazzei is here for you.

How Dr. Mazzei Can Help

If you are suffering from health anxiety, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how Dr. Mazzei can help you, follow these simple steps:

  1. Text today at (480) 448-6755or email us for a free consultation
  2. Or, you can book directly online with Dr. Mazzei
  3. Begin your journey towards a fulfilling and healthier life

Dr. Mazzei offers both in-person somatic symptom disorder treatment in Chandler, AZ, and online therapy for residents of Arizona, Illinois, and Tennessee and from PSYPACT states.