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Somatoform Disorders and Dissociative Disorders


Somatoform Disorders and Dissociative Disorders Ellen becomes dizzy & nauseated in the late afternoon- shortly before she expects her husband home. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Somatoform Disorders and Dissociative Disorders

Somatoform Disorders and Dissociative Disorders
  • Ellen becomes dizzy nauseated in the late
    afternoon- shortly before she expects her husband
    home. Neither her primary care physician nor the
    neurologist he sent her to could identify a
    physical cause. They suspect her symptoms have an
    unconscious psychological origin, possibly
    triggered by her mixed feelings about her

Somatoform Disorders
  • Somatoform Disorders psychological disorder in
    which the symptoms take a somatic (bodily) form
    without apparent physical causes
  • Culture has a big effect on peoples physical
  • Psychological explanations of anxiety and
    depression are socially less acceptable in China
    than in Western Culture
  • Chinese appear more willing to report physical
    symptoms of their distress
  • Bodily complaints have often been observed in
    African cultures as well.

  • One type of somatoform disorder is conversion
  • A rare somatoform disorder in which a person
    experiences very specific genuine physical
    symptoms for which no physiological basis can be
  • Anxiety is converted into a physical symptom
  • Hypochondriasis is another form of somatoform
  • A person interprets normal physical sensations as
    symptoms of a disease
  • Typically the person will go through many doctors
    before one will diagnosis them
  • Many times the person, and doctors, fail to treat
    the psychological roots of the disorder and only
    treat the physical complaints

Dissociative Disorders
  • Dissociative Disorders disorders in which
    conscious awareness becomes separated
    (dissociated) from previous memories, thoughts,
    and feelings
  • Dissociation itself is not so rare
  • Many people may have a sense of being unreal, of
    being separated from their body
  • Example of this is when you drive somewhere
    without consciously knowing that you were driving

Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • A rare dissociative disorder in which a person
    exhibits two or more distinct personalities.
  • Used to be called multiple personality disorder
  • Each personality has its own identity
  • Understanding Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Nicholas Spanos asked college students to pretend
    they were accused murders being examined by a
  • Under hypnosis most spontaneously expressed a
    second personality

  • Skeptics also find it suspicious that the
    disorder is so localized in time and space
  • Between 1930 and 1960 only 2 cases per decade
    were diagnosis
  • In 1980 when the DSM contained the first formal
    code the number shot up to 20,000
  • Outside of North America disorder is much less
  • In India and Japan it is practically nonexistent
  • Is this a cultural phenomenon?
  • Skeptics feel some practitioners that use
    hypnosis go fishing for personalities

  • Other psychologists disagree finding support of
  • Handedness switches from personality to
  • Visual acuity and eye muscle balance changes
  • Both psychoanalysis and learning perspectives
    agree that this is a way of handling anxiety
  • Psychoanalysis see this as a defense against the
    anxiety cause by the eruption of unacceptable
  • Learning view this as behavior reinforced by
    anxiety reduction
  • Some place dissociative disorders under
    post-traumatic disorders because of their natural
    protective responses

Theres Something About Eve
  • Chris Sizemores story gave visibility to DID