This patient did actually fall and hit her head but the PCP set up for the specialty referral. This patient has a true somatization personality disorder. Do you see the clues?
What are the symptoms per DSM V?
Somatization Personality Disorder is characterized by consistent and chronic thoughts on physical symptoms, such as pain or fatigue, that the person is experiencing. The focus on the symptoms experienced with a patient with Somatization Personality Disorder effects the persons ability to function. I did not at first realize this patient was experiencing a somatic disorder, but when the PCP was unable to determine the cause of the ongoing symptoms the referral makes sense. The patient is experiencing the excessive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with her physical symptoms.
Symptoms for somatization personality disorder include pain, fatigue, headaches, weakness, or bowel problems. The symptoms disrupt the patient’s ability to function, and the thoughts surrounding the specific symptoms are excessive (APA, 2013). The patient will experience high levels of anxiety regarding their health and symptoms and the patient is spending significant amounts of time focusing on the symptoms (APA, 2013). Often times the patient will first go to the PCP and when no origin for the symptoms can be identified, the patient could be referred to a psychiatrist to help manage the symptoms.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). American Psychiatric Association. (2013).
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