Psychosomatic Disorder Treatment in California

Dealing with a mental health disorder can prove challenging enough on its own. When paired with physical symptoms like pain or worsened illness, managing your mental health can feel even harder.

The mind and body are closely connected. Stress and anxiety can sometimes lead to physical symptoms where no other cause is present or worsen symptoms of an existing illness or injury. At Advanced Psychiatry Associates, we offer psychosomatic pain treatment in California to help patients get to the bottom of unexplained physical symptoms and cope with related stress.

What Is a Psychosomatic Disorder?

The definition of a psychosomatic disorder or illness includes any ailment caused or worsened by a person’s mental state. It’s a mental condition that leads to or worsens physical symptoms in almost any part of the body. A psychosomatic disorder may develop during a period of severe stress or due to a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety. The condition is also referred to as a somatic symptom disorder or psychophysiologic disorder.

Because the sensations patients experience with psychosomatic illness mirror types of physical illnesses, you may find it difficult to tell whether your symptoms have a mental cause. You may visit the doctor’s office for help with persistent symptoms only to find that no apparent physical cause exists. Alternatively, you may have a physical illness with a clear cause but experience more pain or discomfort than your doctor expects.

Mental factors can even weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to colds and infections. All of these examples suggest a psychosomatic illness.

Psychosomatic disorder is a fairly common condition affecting people of many ages and backgrounds. It occurs more often in women than men. Certain factors can increase the likelihood of someone experiencing somatic symptoms. These include:

  • Childhood neglect
  • Trauma
  • Difficulty recognizing and expressing emotions
  • Chaotic lifestyles
  • Depression, personality disorders or other similar conditions
  • History of sexual abuse
  • Substance misuse
  • Unemployment

What Are the Symptoms of Psychosomatic Illness?

Some common symptoms people with psychosomatic disorders report include chest pain, headaches and stomach aches. Cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, skin conditions and gastrointestinal conditions can worsen due to psychosomatic illness. Some with these conditions also struggle with psychosomatic symptoms like insomnia, muscle aches, high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction. Beyond the physical symptoms, other signs of psychosomatic disorders include:

  • Excessive worry about the seriousness of symptoms
  • Excessive time and energy spent thinking about health concerns
  • Continued concern about symptoms, even as they vary over time
  • Frequent visits to health care providers and jumping from one doctor to another, seeking answers
  • Difficulties functioning at work, school or in social life
  • Anger or irritability due to frustration in medical needs not being met

While the discomfort or illness may not always have a physical cause that’s easy to identify, the pain patients with psychosomatic disorders experience is still very real and a result of increased nervous impulses originating in the brain. If you think your pain may have psychosomatic causes based on the examples above, a mental health professional can provide a diagnosis and recommend next steps. It’s possible to find treatment options to ease your mental symptoms, leading to reductions in physical symptoms.

How Are Psychosomatic Illnesses Diagnosed and Treated?

For those with psychosomatic conditions, diagnosis focuses on separating the mental and physical symptoms. Health care providers often perform physical exams or other tests to determine whether an underlying physical condition may be causing your symptoms. They may also look at your history of visits to medical providers, as frequent visits could indicate mental causes for your symptoms. Diagnosis often requires:

  • One or more symptoms that disrupt your everyday life or cause distress
  • Persistent thoughts, worries and anxieties about symptoms
  • A history of at least six months with symptoms

After diagnosis, treatment often includes a mix of drug therapy, behavior therapy and psychoanalysis. Here are a few treatments people with psychosomatic pain often receive:

  • Medications like antidepressants
  • Referrals to mental health specialists like psychiatrists
  • Mindfulness-based therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Psychosomatic Illness Treatment in California

At Advanced Psychiatry Associates, we provide comprehensive treatment for psychosomatic pain and the underlying mental health disorders that cause or worsen these physical symptoms. Our treatment centers accept patients 14 years and older. Treatment for this condition begins with a visit to a psychosomatic therapist. This mental health professional will evaluate your situation and form a diagnosis. Then, we will recommend a combination of treatment strategies tailored to your needs.

Advanced Psychiatry Associates provides many mental health services, including diagnosis, treatment and medication management. Our comprehensive services mean you can get the help you need to manage a psychosomatic illness in one place. You can avoid the added stress and pain that come from jumping between various doctors and treatment options.

Talk therapy and medication are two of the most common strategies for treating psychosomatic illness. Medication helps manage the factors influencing your physical symptoms. Talk therapy, usually cognitive behavioral therapy, helps you reduce stress, cope with physical symptoms and examine the beliefs you have about your health.

All of our compassionate therapists and counselors work hard to create a safe, supportive environment for dialogue. We’re available by appointment or in emergencies to provide the support you need to manage your mental health condition and its accompanying physical symptoms. We have locations across Northern and Southern California, offering convenient access to mental health services wherever you live.

Contact Advanced Psychiatry Associates for Psychosomatic Treatment

At Advanced Psychiatry Associates, we have more than 15 years of experience providing psychosomatic pain treatment and other mental health services to patients in California. We accept insurance from all major providers, including Medicare, to increase access to mental health treatment. To learn more about the services we offer or schedule an appointment, call one of our locations or fill out our online contact form today.

“I’ve been going here over a year now. I’ve always been treated professionally. Everyone is so nice. My clinicians are courteous and caring. Everyone I’ve dealt with has treated me respectfully while I’ve been learning to deal with my diagnoses. Highly recommend this office!”

- KIM K.