Individuals with somatic symptom disorders tend to have considerable difficulty with how they experience and appraise their bodily symptoms. The illness and the dysfunctional focus and behavior around the illness can assume a central role in the person’s life.
Somatic symptom disorders were originally thought of as “hysterical,” without legitimate medical causation, or as hypochondriasis. Though thinking has changed, negative judgments about unfounded illnesses can still be attached to individuals with these disorders. The boundary between medical and emotional problems can be further blurred. In some cases, an individual labeled with one of these illnesses may simply be experiencing a developing medical condition that has not yet been well defined. For all of these reasons, social workers need to take particular care in diagnosing somatic symptom disorders and in providing a fully biopsychosocial and multidisciplinary approach.
In this Assignment, you describe what that approach might look like for one client.
- Imagine that Jennifer Brea, whose TEDTalk (TED Conferences, LLC, 2016) you watched, is referred to you for ongoing supportive therapy when her psychiatry consultant decides that she does not have a conversion disorder. Despite the psychiatrist’s opinion, her primary care physician ignores that consult and labels Jennifer with the conversion disorder anyway. Be sure to investigate what the ‘conversion’ diagnosis means when responding.
- Record your presentation using Personal Capture (record audio, video, and screen). See Kaltura Media Uploader in left-hand navigation menu in course for directions on recording and uploading media.
By Day 7
Submit a 5-minute recorded PowerPoint (5–7 slides) in which you address the following:
- Explain in a concise professional manner how you would conduct your first meeting with Jennifer. Identify specific steps you would take to understand her circumstance and needs.
- Explain how you would proceed with her medical team in terms of advocacy for her as a client believed to have this condition.
- Explain why you would need to take a biopsychosocial approach to her ongoing care.
- Explain what social, family, vocational, Internet, and medical supports you would explore to help with her longer-term stabilization.
- Analyze the controversy in diagnosing a mental disorder based on unexplained physical symptoms. Within your analysis, consider how power and privilege influence who provides the diagnoses and which groups are more likely to be diagnosed with certain disorders. Explain your thoughts on this debate.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013g). Feeding and eating disorders. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author. doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.dsm10
Khalsa, S. S., Portnoff, L. C., McCurdy-McKinnon, D., & Feusner, J. D. (2017). What happens after treatment? A systematic review of relapse, remission, and recovery in anorexia nervosa. Journal of Eating Disorders, 5(20), 1–12. doi:10.1186/s40337-017-0145-3
American Psychiatric Association. (2013p). Somatic symptom and related disorders. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author. doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.dsm09
Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload TranscriptLaureate Education (Producer). (2018d). Psychopathology and diagnosis for social work practice podcast: Feeding and eating disorder and somatic symptom disorders [Audio podcast]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
TEDx Talks. (2016b, June 29). Starving for the good: An anorexic’s search for meaning and perfection | Elisabeth Huh | TedxUChicago [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxI0ewBJdMo
TED Conferences, LLC (Producer). (2016). What happens when you have a disease doctors can’t diagnose [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/jen_brea_what_happens_when_you_have_a_disease_doctors_can_t_diagnose
Axelsson, E., Andersson, E., Ljótsson, B., Finn, D. W., & Hedman, E. (2016). The health preoccupation diagnostic interview: Inter-rater reliability of a structured interview for diagnostic assessment of DSM-5 somatic symptom disorder and illness anxiety disorder. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 45 (4), 259–269. doi:10.1080/16506073.2016.1161663
Marzilli, E., Cerniglia, L., & Cimino, S. (2018). A narrative review of binge eating disorder in adolescence: Prevalence, impact, and psychological treatment strategies. Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics, 2018(9), 17–30. doi:10.2147/AHMT.S148050
Vartanian, L. R., Trewartha, T., & Vanman, E. J. (2016). Disgust predicts prejudice and discrimination toward individuals with obesity. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 46(6), 369–375. doi:10.1111/jasp.12370
Sagey, L., & Blair, R. (Producers). (n.d.). Anorexia: What therapists and parents need to know [Video file]. Retrieved March 22, 2018, from http://www.psychotherapy.net.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/stream/waldenu/video?vid=386