Question: Can you get Social Security disability for somatoform disorder?
Answer: Yes, but it’s not easy.
Social Security certainly accepts that somatoform disorder can be disabling. Unfortunately, somatoform disorder is badly underdiagnosed by psychiatrists. It is not unusual for a psychiatrist to see a patient who has serious physical health problems. Being physically sick is mentally stressful. Many people who are trying to cope with chronic illness end up seeing a psychiatrist because they become so anxious and depressed. Psychiatrists generally take at face value what their patients tell them about their physical health. Thus, the psychiatrist will not realize that their patient’s physical symptoms do not have a physical basis. And, of course, that’s if the patient ever gets to a psychiatrist in the first place. Many, perhaps most, people with somatization disorder, avoid going to a psychiatrist in the first place. They are highly resistant to a psychiatric explanation for their symptoms. They become indignant when a physician suggests the possibility. I have had a number of clients over the years who were diagnosed with somatization disorder. I don’t recall a one of them that accepted the diagnosis. They might acknowledge that they had psychiatric problems but it was always because of the severity of their physical health problems.