Somatoform disorders are characterized by physical symptoms suggesting medical disease but without demonstrable organic pathology or a known pathophysiological mechanism to account for them. Learn about the nursing management for somatoform disorders in this nursing care plan guide.
Types of Somatoform Disorders
The pathophysiology of somatoform disorders is unknown.
Statistics and Incidences
Prevalence rates for the most restrictive previous diagnosis of somatoform disorder appear low in community samples (0.1%).
Causes of Somatoform Disorders
Predisposing factors to somatoform disorders include:
Symptoms of somatoform disorder include:
Assessment and Diagnostic Findings
If indicated, specific studies used to rule out somatization due to general medical conditions include the following:
Medical Management of Somatoform Disorders
Randomized trials have demonstrated the value of physician education in the management of the patient with somatoform disorder.
Based on studies of somatoform disorder, medication approaches rarely are successful for this condition.
Nursing Management of Somatoform Disorders
Nursing management of a patient with somatoform disorders include the following:
The nurse must investigate physical health status thoroughly to ensure there is no underlying pathology requiring treatment.
Nursing Diagnosis for Somatoform Disorders
Based on the assessment data, the major nursing diagnosis are:
Nursing Care Planning and Goals
The major nursing care plan goals for patients with somatoform disorders are:
The nursing interventions for somatoform disorders are:
Treatment outcomes include:
Documentation in a client with somatoform disorders include the following:
Practice Quiz: Somatoform Disorders
Nursing practice questions for Somatoform Disorders from our nursing test bank. Please visit our nursing test bank page for more NCLEX practice questions.
1. During a community visit, volunteer nurses teach stress management to the participants. The nurses will most likely advocate which belief as a method of coping with stressful life events?
A. Avoidance of stress is an important goal for living.
1. Answer: B. Control over one’s response to stress is possible.
2. The nurse evaluates the treatment of Mrs. Montez with somatoform disorder as successful if:
A. Mrs. Montez practices self-medication rather than changing health care providers.
2. Answer: D. Mrs. Montez verbalizes anxiety directly rather than displacing it.
3. David is preoccupied with numerous bodily complaints even after a careful diagnostic workup reveals no physiologic problems. Which nursing intervention would be therapeutic for him?
A. Acknowledge that the complaints are real to the client, and refocus the client on other concerns and problems.
3. Answer: A. Acknowledge that the complaints are real to the client, and refocus the client on other concerns and problems.
4. Charina, a college student who frequently visited the health center during the past year with multiple vague complaints of GI symptoms before course examinations. Although physical causes have been eliminated, the student continues to express her belief that she has a serious illness. These symptoms are typically of which of the following disorders?
A. Conversion disorder.
4. Answer: C. Hypochondriasis.
5. Aldo, with a somatoform pain disorder may obtain secondary gain. Which of the following statement refers to a secondary gain?
A. It brings some stability to the family.
5. Answer: D. It promotes emotional support or attention for the client.
References and Sources
Interesting resources for further reading about somatoform disorders:
What is an example of primary gain?
Primary gain example: A patient feels guilty about not being able to perform a task, but if there is a medical condition justifying this inability, the guilt diminishes.
Which of the following is basic features of conversion disorder?
Conversion disorder is a mental condition in which a person has blindness, paralysis, or other nervous system (neurologic) symptoms that cannot be explained by medical evaluation.
What are the symptoms of conversion disorder?
Weakness or paralysis..
Abnormal movement, such as tremors or difficulty walking..
Loss of balance..
Difficulty swallowing or feeling "a lump in the throat".
Seizures or episodes of shaking and apparent loss of consciousness (nonepileptic seizures).
Episodes of unresponsiveness..
What is the primary gain associated with developing physical symptoms in response to stress?
When you relate this to somatic disorders, the primary gain, according to psychodynamic theorists, provides protection from the anxiety or emotional symptoms and/or conflicts. This need for protection is expressed via a physical symptom such as pain, headache, etc.