Somatic symptom disorder is a condition in which a person feels extreme anxiety about physical sensations, such as pain or fatigue. This preoccupation with physical symptoms causes significant distress and disrupts the individual’s daily life. The physical symptoms may or may not be related to a diagnosable medical condition, but the extreme reaction to the physical symptoms is what characterizes somatic symptom disorder.
The prevalence of somatic symptom disorder is unknown, but it is estimated that 5 to 7 percent of the general population may have this condition. Females tend to report more physical symptoms than males, and it is therefore likely that the prevalence of somatic symptom disorder is higher in females. This condition is related to hypochondriasis, or illness anxiety disorder.