Topic: The worried Body? Recognising Somatic Symptom disorders in teens

In session 5, Professor Susan Sawyer, Paediatrician, Director of the Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children’s Hospital presented an approach to recognising and addressing Somatic symptom disorders.

Somatic symptom and related disorders (SSRDs) are mental health conditions that are characterised by the presence of excessive feelings, thoughts and behaviours around physical symptoms that cannot be fully explained by a medical condition and that significantly effect daily functions. These related disorders commonly present to primary care, are tricky to assess and manage with many teens undergoing unnecessary, and often invasive, investigations before the diagnosis is made. So, are there any “flags” that can help GPs to “rule in” this issue? How can we explain this diagnosis to adolescents and their families? And what treatment supports functional recovery? 

Recommended reading: Gao, X., McSwiney, P., Court, A., Wiggins, A., & Sawyer, S. M. (2018). Somatic Symptom Disorders in Adolescent Inpatients. Journal of Adolescent Health, 63(6), 779–784.

To catch up on session 5, listen:

(This link can be activated on smart phone)

You can also view the powerpoint presentation while listening: