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PSYC 270 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Somatization Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychoeducation

Course Code
PSYC 270
Richard Wise
Study Guide

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Topics on the Second Exam
I. Chapter 6-Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders and Dissociative Disorders
A. Somatic Symptom Disorders: believing they have physical disorders with their
1. Illness anxiety disorder (“hypochondriasis”)
Physical symptoms are either not experienced at the present time
or are very mild, but severe anxiety is focused on the possibility of
having or developing a serious disease
1. Symptoms
a. Person fears that he or she has a serious
physical disorder
c. Less concern with any specific physical symptom
d. Worry focused on developing or having an illness
e. Reassurance from doctor’s little effect
1. Rationale- Disease conviction
f. Occurs about equally in men and women
g. Chronic course
2. Causes
a. Quickly focuses on physical sensations
b. Focusing attention increases arousal and
symptom intensity
c. Misinterpret normal sensations which further
increases anxiety
d. Increased anxiety produces more symptoms;
becomes vicious cycle
e. Takes a “better safe than sorry” approach
f. Healthy means symptom free
g. Runs in families; modest genetic contribution
1. May be nonspecific: a tendency to
overreact to stress
h. Views negative life events as unpredictable and
i. May have learned from family that should be
anxious about illness or disease
j. Stressful life events trigger disorder
k. During childhood frequently had an ill family
l. Sick person’s gets benefits
3. Treatment
a. Medications
1. Antidepressants may help
b. CBT
1. identifies and challenges
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2. symptom creation
3. stress reduction
4. provide reassurance
5. reduce frequency of feeling
2. Somatic symptom disorder
Occurs when a person feels extreme anxiety about physical
symptoms such as pain or fatigue.
The person has intense thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related
to the symptoms that interfere with daily life.
A person with somatic symptom disorder (SSD) is not faking his or
her symptoms.
High comorbidity
1. Symptoms:
a. Not always feel urge to take action
b. Continually feel weak or ill
c. More concerned with symptoms than if serious disorder
d. May exhibit la belle indifference
e. Life may revolve around symptoms
f. May consist of severe pain
a. Physical cause
2. Causes
a. Familial history of illness or injury
b. Strong relationship to antisocial personality disorder
(1) Both impulsive (i.e., short term gratification)
(a) Immediate attention & sympathy but
eventual social isolation
(b) Novelty seeking & provocative sexual
3. Treatment
a. Difficult to treat;
b. Use CBT to:
(1) Provide reassurance;
(2) Reduce stress; and
(3) Reduce doctor visits
c. Reduce frequency of help seeking behavior (i.e.,
gatekeeper physician)
3. Conversion disorder
1. Symptoms:
a. Psychological conflicts are converted into physical
b. Often mimics neurological disorder
c. “Hysterical” blindness or “hysterical” paralysis
d. Malfunctioning often involves sensory-motor areas
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e. Lacks a physical or organic cause, but person not faking
f. Retains normal functions, but lacks awareness
2. Causes
a. Trauma
b. Conflict and resulting anxiety are repressed
c. Anxiety increases and threatens to emerge into
d. Converted into physical symptoms relieving pressure to
deal with conflict and the anxiety (primary gain)
e. Receives attention and sympathy for physical ailment &
avoid difficult tasks (secondary gain)
3. Treatment
a. Identify and attend to traumatic or stressful experience
b. Re-experience or reliving event (trauma)
c. Remove “secondary gain.”
d. Reinforce positive healthy behaviors
B. Related Disorders
5. Malingering, factitious disorder, and factitious disorder imposed on
Malingering– pretending to have a physical/mental disorder to get
external gain
Factitious disorder
Faked condition not motivated by obvious benefit
Formerly known as Munchausen syndrome (Baron von
Factitious Disorder Imposed on another
Previously Munchausen syndrome by proxy
Individual deliberately makes someone else sick
C. Dissociative Disorders
A. General Characteristics
1. Examples
a. Difficulty recalling identity
b. Memory impairment of experiences
2. Cause- Extreme stress
6. Dissociation
1. Dissociation results in some aspects of cognition or experience
being inaccessible to consciousness
7. Dissociative amnesia
1. Is the sudden inability to recall extensive personal information
due to trauma or extreme stress
2. May include amnesia for emotional reactions to events
8. Dissociative fugue
1. Person takes off and find self in a new place
2. Unable to remember the past or how arrived at new location
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