“Somatoform disorders are characterized by the presence of physical symptoms or concerns that are not due to a medical disorder” (Hansell & Damour, 2008, p. 224). Individuals who suffer from somatoform disorders experience symptoms of physical disease or defect when there is nothing wrong with their bodies medically. Factitious disorders are similar to somatoform disorder in that individual’s fake bodily symptoms to give others the perception that he or she is sick (Hansell & Damour, 2008). Somatoform disorder symptoms date back to 1600 B.C.E where it was known as hysteria. Freud described hysteria as a disorder that involved physical symptoms that were the result of repressed anxiety that provoked the impulses of physical symptoms (Hansell & Damour, 2008). In 1980 the DSM-IV-TR moved away from the term “hysteria” and associated the symptoms as specific somatoform disorders (Hansell & Damour, 2008). According to the DSM-IV-TR, there are five subcategories of somatoform disorders: Psychogenic pain disorder, undifferentiated disorder, conversion disorder, somatization disorder, and hypochondriasis (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). Another category of somatoform disorder is atypical somatoform disorder, which is a catch-all category because individuals fit the general criteria for somatoform disorder, but do not meet the specific criteria for the five major categories (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). The goal of this paper is to analyze the case of Pam, a 38-year-old woman who suffers from the somatoform subcategory known as psychogenic pain disorder. This paper will give an overview of Pam’s life, describing her background and potential predisposing factors of her disorder as well as analyze the biological, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components of the psychogenic pain disorder.
Pam a 38 year old woman visited the pain clinic reporting that she had been suffering from recurrent hip pain since a car accident at the age of 17 (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). Pam’s gynecologist referred her to an orthopedic surgeon, whose evaluation could not find a conclusive explanation for her recurring hip pain. Her hip pain was sporadic and would sometimes confine her to the bed for a day or two however she and her husband took a skiing vacation in which she had no pain at all. Pam also reported recurring headaches, which she described as “migraines, definitely” (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). Her headaches were on and off, like that of her hip pain and would be severe but later disappear altogether for several weeks (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). Pam was referred to a neurologist for evaluation, in which he found that her headaches did not correspond to the typical pattern of migraines. The neurologist and gynecologist worked together and referred Pam to a pain clinic because they could not find an explanation for Pam’s headaches and hip pain. After watching a daytime television show describing premenstrual stress, Pam believed that this would explain her hip pain and headaches along with several new ailments (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). Her gynecologist reported that the possibility of premenstrual stress had already been considered and did not account for Pam’s problems therefore psychogenic factors needed to be evaluated (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). Clients Background
Pam was the second youngest of four children. As a child she did not receive much attention from her parents. Pam’s parents gave their attention to the youngest child who was pampered, and to her oldest brother whose academic achievements overshadowed the younger children. Pam’s parents believed that males should be competitive and outgoing, whereas their daughters were to succeed with a focus on music and academics (Meyer, Chapman, & Weaver, 2009). Because of Pam’s parent’s views, she...
References: Hansell, J., & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal Psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Meyer, R., Chapman, L. K., & Weaver, C. M. (2009). Case studies of abnormal behavior (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
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